A Chicago Cougars player is now paralyzed below the shoulders after a freak accident during a game last week.
Defenseman Matt Olson, 20, was injured in the first period of a home game for against the Illiana Blackbirds of northwest Indiana.
"Right now, Matt Olson is paralyzed from the shoulders down and we just keep praying and hoping for some miracle to happen for him," said Cougars business manager Mike Tompkins. "He hit a rut in the ice a groove in the ice and went face first into the boards, we all knew right away."
Olson's mother wrote in a post on CaringBridge, a nonprofit that offers free websites to discuss health issues, "this was a very serious spinal injury that resulted in permanent damage. The family appreciates all the prayers and well wishes."
Olson is currently receiving mechanical assistance in order to breathe and communicating through eye movement, but "he’s conscious and never lost consciousness from the time of the injury," Tompkins told The Star Tribune.
The Coyotes Mite travel team played an exhibition game against the Wolfpack Squirt NIHL team at Triphahn Center in Hoffman Estates Monday night to pay tribute and collect donations for Matt's family.
A silent auction was also held for the family, and a card-making station allowed youngsters to send their well wishes for recovery.
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"He's still on the ice with us," one of Matt's teammates said. "Everything that we're doing for the rest of the season is going to be for him."
A GoFundMe has been started to help the family with medical costs.