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Mark Wahlberg ‘Inspired’ by Friendship With Paralyzed Hockey Player

Photo from Mark Wahlberg’s Instagram

Mark Wahlberg ‘Inspired’ by Friendship With Paralyzed Hockey Player

By Movieguide® Contributor

After a high school hockey accident paralyzed Jake Thibeault from the waist down, his grit and work ethic garnered a new friendship with actor Mark Wahlberg.

“For Jake to have the attitude that he has [had] at the age that he has it’s very inspiring,” Wahlberg said. “We’ve become good friends. Obviously, we have got a lot in common from being back home and sports and family and all that stuff, but his work ethic and his attitude are something that continue[s] to encourage me every day.”

“He gave me a call and I was kind of a little blown away. I was like holy cow. But now it’s just a friendship now, we talk often, once or twice a week, text often,” Thibeault said.

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the spinal cord injury that left Thibeault unable to use his legs. Wahlberg shared a video on Instagram of Thibeault’s physical therapy as he works to restore his strength.

“It’s gone pretty, pretty viral, I guess you could say,” Thibeault said of the video. “Mark was nice enough to put it up. Did not expect it to reach as many people as it did but I am glad it did because if it can help one more person. He’s an impressive guy in what he does with his life and how he carries himself in his life, it’s inspiring to me and it’s motivating to me.”

Thibeault hopes not only to walk again but to get back on the ice and skate.

“I told my parents I have an order. I’m gonna walk, then run, then skate, and I may skip run and try to skate first. But it truly goes back to just the no quit, and I’m refusing to lose,” he said, per HITC. “And that stuck with me to this day, and it will stick with me until I’m on my feet.”

“I’m a true believer that anything in life you work hard and you want it bad enough you can get,” Thibeault told CBS News Boston.

So far, his hard work has paid off, and he is making progress towards his goal.

“I was up in a walker, I can swing my legs through now in a way that it takes all my momentum and all my strength, but I can swing through on my own, but I can’t get lock out, that’s the biggest thing we are working on right now trying to get my quads to fire,” he said.

WCVB reported, “while practicing how to walk, one of the muscles in his hip briefly started contracting for the first time since his accident.”

While Thibeault’s dream of recovery fuels his relentless work, he is also sustained by his faith – something that has only grown stronger over the past two years.

“My faith has been strengthened drastically from the injury,” Thibeault said. “My goal is to walk again, my goal is to skate again. I am confident in achieving that.”

“There isn’t anything Jake can’t accomplish, and he does the work with a smile on his face,” Wahlberg added. “He’s got God in his life, he’s super positive about everything he does.”

Movieguide® previously reported on Wahlberg building up the younger generation:

Actor Mark Wahlberg recently encouraged a high school football team, sharing the importance of hard work and the value of supporting each other.

“You guys are so blessed and so fortunate,” he told the team. “I know it’s tough out there. There’s a lot of temptation right out those doors, but you’re inside these doors with these guys.”

In a video posted to Wahlberg’s Instagram, the actor joins Bergen Catholic football team to share his message with them.

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