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February 11. 2013 8:08PM

Keene high student makes strides in accident recovery


After a fluke accident left him a quadriplegic, David Hudgik, left, got back on the slopes with Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports and the help of instructor Molly Hajjar at Crotched Mountain Ski Area. (COURTESY)


David Hudgik, a senior at Keene High School, works with his occupational therapist Amanda Jennison at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield. (COURTESY)

GREENFIELD - Though a fluke accident on a trampoline left him a quadriplegic, David Hudgik's positive attitude is helping him meet his new life head-on. That zeal was why Hudgik dropped the puck at Crotched Mountain's Boston Bruins Alumni Classic on Sunday.

Hudgik, a senior at Keene High School, was an avid freestyle skier who spent his winters in the snow, his mother Barbara said.

"He was your typical athletic teenage boy," said Barbara. "He skied in the winter and had fun in the summer jumping off bridges and doing those things that mothers don't want to know about."

But it was an accident at home in September 2011 that put David in a wheelchair. Hudgik was at home bouncing on the trampoline in the yard with a friend when he attempted a forward roll and landed on his neck. Barbara said she poked her head out the window when she heard a commotion in the yard. When her son asked her to call 911, she knew he was serious.

"We left Keene that night and David didn't come back for five months," she said. "When he came home, it was in a wheelchair."

Hudgik broke two vertebrae in his neck. Though he underwent three hours of surgery and had a metal rod inserted in his back to stabilize his spinal cord, he lost all feeling in his right side, his left shoulder and below the waist.

At a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, Hudgik became acquainted with his new life as a quadriplegic, and when he returned to New Hampshire, he stayed at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield. At Crotched Mountain, Hudgik participated in physical therapy and relearned the skills he needed to live at home.

He and his family have recently moved to a new home that accommodates his wheelchair, and are learning to overcome the obstacles his disability. Hudgik was able to get back out onto the slopes through the Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports (CMARS) program, which pairs trained staff and volunteers with people with disabilities and gets people back skiing, kayaking or participating in other activities.

As a result of Hudgik's positive attitude and perseverance, he was asked to drop the puck at the opening face-off of Crotched Mountain's annual Boston Bruins Alumni Classic game. The game was between the Boston Bruins Legends and the Crotched Mountain Wild and was held at Sullivan Arena at Saint Anselm College and raised money for the CMARS program. Hudgik met former Bruin Rick Middleton and was named an honorary member of the Crotched Mountain Wild.

nfoster@newstote.com


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