December 30, 2011, a date that changed the life of one Minnesota hockey player, as that was the date in which he became paralyzed from the chest down through the fracturing of two vertebrae and severing his spinal cord when he was checked from behind and went head-first into the boards during a Minnesota high school hockey game. The former prep player that we just referenced is Jack Jablonski, and today on Twitter he came out as being gay.

Image Credit: Jabs_13 via Twitter
Image Credit: Jabs_13 via Twitter

The post reads:

To my friends, supporters and anyone who has come across my story; while this has been a long time coming, it has not been an easy journey to get to this point. Over the past 10+ years, adjusting to my "new normal" and living life with paralysis has been difficult both publicly and privately. Thankfully, I've been gifted with such tremendous support and you've all played such a substantial role in my journey. But that is not the reason for this message. 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 this

I am gay. 

I couldn't fully understand my feelings and thoughts. I was a multi-sport athlete, growing up surrounded by a straight, masculine world. I started to feel different and internalized everything. once I was injured, my focus was on recovery, but the weight of my sexuality got heavier and heavier. I dealt with this on my own for a very long time and it ate me up. I am finally in a good place mentally and it's time for me to move forward and live my life freely. 

I am not a professional athlete, but I plan on spending my life and career in sports. Having seen the acceptance to the brave men and women that came before me, I can't thank you enough for what you've already 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. 

I also want to thank my supportive family, my friends, and the LA Kings Organization that have accepted, embraced, and helped me get to this point. I hope that by sharing this part of me, I can help someone else out there avoid the pain and loneliness I went through these past 12 years. 

To everyone that continues to help me overcome my paralysis and get me to where I am today, thank you. I am still Jack; the man on a mission to beat paralysis, striving to have a career in hockey and working to make the world a better place. 

I look forward to this next chapter and living my truth. 

Since his paralysis, Jablonski has gone on to work in the NHL with the LA Kings organization as the associate digital media content specialist for the Kings.

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