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Paralyzed varsity quarterback makes emotional return to Vancouver field

A month before Gavin Kamoschinski was set to begin his senior year as the starting quarterback for the Notre Dame Jugglers varsity football team in Vancouver, the 17-year-old broke his neck diving off a dock into Okanagan Lake.

Now paralyzed from the waist down and using an electric wheelchair, Kamoschinski has recently been transferred to GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre to continue his recovery. On Saturday, he had his first outing since the accident — a visit to Notre Dame to watch his Jugglers play.

“We thought for safety reasons maybe it would be best for him to be up in the upper area, but he really wanted to be on that sideline and to be an integral part of the atmosphere and the emotion on the sideline,” said Jugglers head coach Denis Kelly.

“At every turn he just wanted to be next to his teammates,” said Notre Dame parent manager Sandra Crema. “So he was in the huddle, he was on the sidelines, he was in meeting at halftime, in the locker room. And even after the game, he was probably one of the last players to leave, and that shows that he’s still one of our captains, because that’s what we expect of our captains.”

Kamoschinski’s best friend and teammate Thomas Mustapic said Gavin loved being back in his old stomping grounds at Notre Dame.

“He was in the locker room talking to us, hyping us up, telling us about the other team,” said Mustavic. “He’s missed football so much, he’s told me that’s pretty much all he’s been thinking about. I walk into his room he’s just watching football, watching highlights, watching plays. So to be here out on the field, even though he couldn’t play, to him it just feels like he’s part of the team again.”

At GF Strong, Kamoschinski is focusing in regaining some use of his hands, and hopes to move back home early next year.

“He is an extraordinary young man that had a very tragic accident, but he has shown a remarkable recovery and resilience,” Kelly said. “I have gone to see him several times, and he’s really got a good, uplifting spirit about him. And I always feel a lot better coming out of those than going in. Because you kind of expect guys to be down, but he’s not that type of person. With the support of his parents especially, he’s emerged with a really strong attitude.”

“It is business at GF Strong for him. Monday to Friday, he puts in more than what they ask him, whatever he can muster up in strength and energy in that day he’s putting it on. He’s showing amazing resilience and strength,” said Crema.

“I think if anyone is going to have anything positive come out of this, it will be Gavin. I think he will emerge from this situation about as well as anymore,” said Kelly, who added he hopes Gavin will become a regular at Jugglers games this season.

“He had a really good afternoon I think, and hopefully this can be a building block for his recovery.” Top Stories

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