Xavier LaBelle, Humboldt Bronco seriously injured in bus crash, out of hospital and on his feet
'Today I am able to walk and look forward to eventually running and skating'
A player seriously injured in April's fatal Humboldt Broncos bus collision is back on his feet and out of the hospital.
"Today I am able to walk and look forward to eventually running and skating," Xavier LaBelle said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
"I am healing, and I am feeling better every day."
20 broken bones
LaBelle sustained several injuries in the April 6 crash involving the hockey team's bus: a fractured skull, a concussion, internal bleeding and about 20 broken bones, including 13 in his spine, one of which required surgery.
"I have nerve damage impacting my legs and my left arm," LaBelle said.
"In the early stages of my recovery I needed help to sit up — help to do all those things we take for granted, like eating and brushing my teeth."
LaBelle was discharged from Saskatoon City Hospital Wednesday, exactly two months after the crash. He thanked everyone from his doctors to his therapy dogs for helping him recover.
"You all gave me the strength and courage that I needed to start healing and feeling better," he said.
LaBelle was initially misidentified in the aftermath of the April 6 crash as a fellow teammate, Parker Tobin, who had died in the crash.
"I have no recollection of the crash, or for about two weeks after," said the 18-year-old defenceman from Saskatoon.
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"Learning of the sudden loss of so many of my teammates and the Broncos staff was shocking and heartbreaking."
Set to graduate this month
LaBelle underwent school tutoring while in hospital and is poised to graduate from École Canadienne-française later this month.
He ended his statement by recalling a moment from the playoff season that was tragically cut short for Tobin and 15 others.
"Our team began wearing workout shirts with the word 'Believe' across the front," he said. "We believed in each other.
"I believe people will never forget what happened to us. I believe we will get through this together."