By Bill Shields

BOSTON (CBS) – Anyone who knows 18-year-old Jake Thibeault will tell you about his character, and good heart. How there’s no quit in the young man. He’s going to need all of it now.

“The spinal cord surgeon came in and told him the extent of his injuries,” Jake’s dad Mike Thibeault said. “He simply turned to him and said, ‘I’m ready to fight.'”

Jake is a one of the top hockey prospects in New England. He plays for Milton Academy and a private club called the Boston Bulldogs. This weekend, during a tournament with the Bulldogs, he went hard into the boards back first. He suffered a spinal cord injury that has left him with no movement from the waist down.

Jake Thibeault (Family photo)

“Jake simply said to him, ‘this is just a bump in the road,'” Mike Thibeault said.

At Milton Academy, the student body has been informed, that the popular 18-year-old has been seriously injured. “We’re keeping him in our thoughts and prayers,” said one student Monday.

But when some of his friends and teammates were taking his injury poorly, Jake told them to “toughen up.”

His parents know the road ahead is a difficult one, but the family is ready. “I’ve never been more proud of him,” said Mike Thibeault. “His character is through the roof.”

The young man will need all of his character and grit in the days to come.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Jake’s family with medical and home construction costs.

Bill Shields