Jack Jablonski comes out, thanks LGBTQ+ athletes who came out before him
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota native Jack Jablonski has shared a number of trials and tribulations following the high school hockey incident that left him paralyzed, as he worked and trained and fought to regain mobility and self-determination.
On Wednesday, he shared another update on a different battle he says he's been fighting for some time.
"I am gay," Jablonski shared in an Instagram post and in an exclusive interview with The Athletic.
"Prior to my injury, I began to battle my true self internally. I went from confusion, to disbelief, to denial, to pushing it down, to now, acceptance and happiness. This process has been extremely tough and lonely. I am proud of who I am and to ready to share," Jablonski wrote.
He says that after his injury, his focus turned to that, and not "the weight of my sexuality," which he says only got "heavier and heavier" as the years passed.
"Having seen the acceptance to the brave men and women that came before me, I can't thank you enough for what you've done to pave the way in sports. You have helped people like myself become comfortable to be who we really are publicly. A gay man in the sports world," he wrote.
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He also thanked his family and the L.A. Kings franchise. Just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, he landed a job with the team as their content coordinator. It was during the shutdown of the pandemic that he began to spiral, he told The Athletic.
"Obviously, there's nothing physically I could have done to myself, but there were many times I would go on these walks and think about going up to Pacific Coast Highway and driving my chair in front of a car and just stopping it all because of how lonely I felt and how sad I was," Jablonski told the outlet.
Now in his 20s, Jablonski was playing hockey at Benilde-St. Margaret's when he was checked from behind. A surgeon said his spinal cord was severed when his head went smashing into the boards after being checked.
In the years since, Jablonski -- or "Jabs," as his teammates and friends and support network all called him -- has posted videos of himself moving limbs on his own, walking, and eating on his own volition.
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