Jake Thibeault adjusts to life at Babson College one year after paralyzing hockey accident

WELLESLEY — This week is a major milestone for a Fitchburg teen who was paralyzed in a hockey accident one year ago. Jake Thibeault has been determined through his recovery and even walked across the stage at his Milton Academy graduation in the spring. Now, he’s at Babson College. 

“You look back now, Sunday marks a year I laid in a hospital bed not thinking I would be a freshman in college right now and still being able to fight the fight, it feels good,” said Thibeault.

It’s a new chapter for Jake. The 19-year-old has come a long way and is now at college.

Thibeault, a star hockey player at Milton Academy, suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a game that left him partially paralyzed. 

“I’ve realized to cherish life,” he said. 

Jake’s decision to attend Babson has a lot to do with Head Hockey Coach Jamie Rice. 

“I want to be there for him because I feel he’s always there for me,” said Rice. 

“From day one of the injury, Coach has been there for me. I still have it on my phone, the inspirational quotes he sent to me and helps me,” said Thibeault.

“He inspires me,” said Rice. “Tremendous courage and a lot of humility.” 

Jake said the hockey team along with the Babson community have already embraced him

“There’s always a hand to open a door or push me up the hill. So relatively easy getting around campus,” Thibeault said. “I feel like I have 35 brothers that I didn’t have two weeks ago.”

Jake arrived on campus last week, but his first day in Babson’s new Recreation and Athletic Center was Tuesday. He’s not quite sure what his role on the hockey team will be but he knows it will be an important one.

“I am amazed at what he can do so I am not going to limit what he can do,” said Rice. “A lot of it is going to depend on his schedule,” Rice said. 

That schedule also includes rehabbing three hours a day at Journey Forward in Canton.

“Just the other day I was able to swing my legs though and generate all the effort I had and try and step,” said Jake. 

Steps he hopes to continue to build upon and inspire others along the way.

“I am determined to walk across here mostly on my own.” 

Source : https://www.cbsnews.com/boston/news/jake-thibeault-babson-college-one-year-paralyzing-hockey-accident/

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