Like many 14 year olds, Nicholas spent hours every week playing hockey. Following a severe headache and vomiting at hockey practice, it was discovered he had suffered a stroke from an arteriovenous malformation. He underwent emergency neurosurgery to stop the major bleed in his brain. Nicholas’ entire right side was affected and he faced intense rehabilitation to regain his balance, walking, and speaking abilities. He also had to refrain from participating in hockey for a full year.
This was devastating to Nicholas as hockey is his passion. Highly motivated, he focused his ambition to work harder. Nicholas progressed from using a wheelchair and walking with a two-wheeled walker to independently walking in just a few weeks. Therapists saw him up the ante during his balance, swimming, and obstacle course therapy sessions. At home, on his own initiative, he wore a hockey glove on his left hand, forcing himself to use and strengthen his dominant hand. Nicholas’ zest for life became a source of inspiration for fellow patients as he encouraged them with humour and thoughtfulness. He also courageously became an assistant coach and joined his team during dry land training to support their success. “While I can’t skate with my team, I can still be with and support them.”
“Nicholas’s contagious humor and dedication to achieve his goals of walking and returning to hockey was an inspiration to patients and families. He is a role model and an example of how a positive attitude and hard work help overcome challenges.” – Lori, Kristin, Nicola & Team