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.