Rd 3 Schedule Posted through Jan. 28th
Valley Hockey League
Miracle Off Ice

A simple act of tying his shoes was unthinkable a short time ago. Getting out of bed and walking was unimaginable. On January 8th Connor Kulig of North Quincy High School lay motionless on the ice after being hit into the boards directly in front of his team’s bench in a game against Scituate. Connor’s recall of that horrifying moment is vivid. “The first thing that struck me was ‘I can’t move,’ Connor told me, while sitting up in his hospital bed.  “Something is seriously wrong. I was lying there staring straight at the ceiling. I couldn’t move my neck and there was pain shooting down everywhere. I couldn’t move anything; I was just lying there. I was staring straight up at my coach and I told him I couldn’t move. It was rough.”

His coach Matt Gibbons concurred. “It happened right in front of our bench. The only thing I could see were his eyes and his mouth and all he kept saying to me was he couldn’t move. It was scary, all the kids on the bench could see it. It was a tough sight, it really was.” Connor had two fractured vertebrae in his neck. He underwent multiple surgeries at Children’s Hospital. Eventually Connor was transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown for therapy and hope.

“At first, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to walk, Connor explained. “I couldn’t move my legs; all I could really do was move my elbows. Then I quickly went from that to actually moving a finger and then moving a toe and I said to myself, ‘this is getting better.’” When we visited Connor at Spaulding, he was walking the hallway with the aid of a nurse. On a Friday night all of his North Quincy teammates showed up for a pizza party in a conference room on his floor. It fueled Connor, he laughed and joked and promised the guys he’d be home soon. It was the perfect tonic to compliment his daily physical therapy.

Frequent visitors who always packed smiles, friendship and immeasurable support. “I think that’s the reason I’ve made such progress and am able to look at the positives,” said a smiling Connor. “My mom sleeps on a couch in my room, my girlfriend Emma comes in every day. It’s awesome.” On January 30th Connor was discharged from Spaulding. The Quincy Police Department sent a crew of motorcycles and cruisers to escort him home. It was a hero’s welcome. On February 9th Connor wore his game jersey #16 and stepped onto the ice with his mom for senior night. He admits his hockey playing days are over, but he has other priorities now like graduating and accepting his admission to Mass Maritime Academy. Do you believe in Miracles? Yes!

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