Jack Jablonski, surrounded by his family (Leslie, Mike, and brother Max), spoke with reporters as he left Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Minneapolis on Wednesday.
The elevator doors opened to the lobby of the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Minneapolis on Wednesday, and Jack Jablonski, neck-brace free and feeling stronger, emerged with his family to a throng of cameras and applauding bystanders. He was leaving the rehabilitation center that had cared for him for nearly three months.
The goodbyes to the staff were emotional, he said. "It's exciting. It's obviously bittersweet, but it's a next step, so it's good to move on."
Jablonski, 16, was paralyzed with a spinal cord injury during a high school hockey game at the end of December. Friends, teammates and professional athletes continued to visit and wish him well, along with nearly 1.1 million visitors to his Caringbridge website. He provided an emotional boost to his team, which won their state hockey championship last month.
Jablonski will live in an apartment while his family's home undergoes renovations for accessibility. He will continue rehabilitation on an outpatient basis at Courage Center.
He's looking forward to "just go back to somewhat of a normal lifestyle."