Jack was joined by a crowd of friends as he was announced the People's Choice Winner during the CBS Courage in Sports Watch Party November 11 hosted by the Minnesota Wild.
At night, when Jack's head hits his pillow, he is exhausted. He's been up since 5:30, put in a full day at school, exercised at Courage Center, done his homework and settled into bed. With his injury, everything takes more effort, it seems.
Sometimes he lies awake, grieving for what he used to have -- the way he used to horse around with his teammates or chase flying pucks across the rink.
He wonders what life will be like years from now.
"I know that I could be like this forever," Jack says quietly. "I'm ... not at all confident. I just hope that it'll change eventually."
But those are his private nighttime fears. He can't afford that kind of thinking in the daytime.
"Where are you going to go if life sucks to you all the time?" he says. "If it does, then what's the point?"
When an aide wakes him to start a new day, he gives himself a quick pep talk as she gets him out of bed. He can't improve if he doesn't try, he tells himself. "What if something amazing happens today?"
From "After the Hit," a story in the StarTribune, November 25, 2012. Story by Pam Louwagie. Photos by Carlos Gonzalez.