Matechuk, whose favorite player is Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, has been looking forward to attending the game with his family, including his sister (and Capitals fan!) Carley, for weeks.
With the trip already likely to be a memorable one for Layne, Alex Ovechkin gave the Matechuks one more incredible memory to take back to Saskatoon with them, meeting with the family and snapping a picture.
— Carley Matechuk (@carleymatechuk) March 12, 2019
Matechuk suffered severe head trauma following the crash, which left him in a coma for a month. When Matechuk came out of the coma, he was not able to communicate or walk, but has slowly been improving day-by-day through his rehabilitation and therapy.
His rehabilitation includes having speech therapy four times a week, and physiotherapy three times a week. As of a few months ago, Matechuk started learning to skate again, with the assistance of Greg Slobodzian. When he returned to the ice on January 9, he donned his number 28 Broncos jersey.
After 9 months @LayneMatechuk returned to the rink to skate for the first time since the accident. Thank you Greg Slobosian for helping Layne. Could not be more proud of Layne! #Believe pic.twitter.com/iD8gADwvXa
— Kevin (@KevinMatechuk) January 8, 2019
The defenseman, who turned 19 in February, is currently working with Zone Physio therapist John Fouhse on improving his strength and balance. The pair have been working together since Matechuk was released from hospital in October.
“We’ve really focused a lot on his strength lately,” Fouhse told Darren Zary, of the Saskatoon Starphoenix. “We started with one- or two-pound dumbbells and now Layne deadlifts up to 120 pounds. He’s doing pull-ups and pushups, agility-ladder stuff. It’s really impressive how much he’s changed over a short period of time.”
On March 7, the final Humboldt Broncos player was released from hospital. That monumental milestone, almost one year on from the crash, came as the Broncos made the SJHL playoffs.
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