Injured hockey player Matt Olson returns to Minnesota

A junior league hockey player paralyzed after suffering a devastating on-ice injury at Hoffman Estates' Sears Centre Arena is back home in Minnesota continuing his recovery, according to a statement from his parents Tuesday.

Matt Olson, a 20-year-old defenseman for the Chicago Cougars hockey team, sustained a severe spinal cord injury when he crashed into the boards during a Feb. 21 game.

Before returning closer to his home in Isanti, Minnesota, on Friday, he'd been undergoing treatment at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

Part of his care at Lutheran General included a rare adult stem-cell treatment, doctors said.

Olson will continue his rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, his family said.

"We would like to thank everyone, near and far, for your support these last few months," Matt's parents, Sue and Dou Olson, said in a statement released Tuesday by Lutheran General. "Your good wishes, kind thoughts and financial support have been such a comfort.

"Matt's schedule will be very full as he settles into his new routine of intensive rehabilitation," the statement reads. "This past weekend, he saw some of the equipment he'll be using during therapy. He said it was both overwhelming and exciting, and he knows it will take hard work, mental toughness and patience."

In the wake of his injury, hockey communities both in the Chicago area and the Twin Cities rallied around Olson through fundraisers and other efforts to lift his spirits and help his recovery. More than $182,000 has been raised for him online through a GoFundMe account.

The Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild teamed to offer one-of-a-kind experiences through an auction to benefit Olson, and the two teams wore decals on their helmets honoring him when they played in Minnesota last month.

Fundraisers set for paralyzed hockey player

Rare stem cell treatment provides hope for paralyzed hockey player, family

Blackhawks and Wild join forces to help paralyzed player

Injured hockey player expected to return home soon

Chicago Cougars defenseman Matt Olson, 20, has returned to his native Minnesota to continue his recovery from an on-ice injury suffered Feb. 21 that left him paralyzed, his parents said Tuesday. Courtesy of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.