Well-known sledge hockey player in Cape Breton in hospital following life-changing accident
HALIFAX -- A man from Cape Breton is in a Halifax hospital following an accident that would forever change his life.
For years, Kurtis Deveaux's happy place has been on the ice as the captain of the Cape Breton Sledgehammers -- a sledge hockey team in Cape Breton.
But it was a fall on a golf course this summer that landed the captain in hospital.
"(My) feet went out from under me and next thing I know, I'm landing and the first words out of my mouth were, 'I can't feel my legs,'" said Deveaux.
Deveaux says his next thought was the possibility he may be paralyzed.
"I really didn't know and honestly, to this day, still don't know what's going to come back and what's not," Deveaux explained.
The diagnosis Deveaux received was a broken L-1 vertebra. He was airlifted to Halifax where he had surgery that night.
After two weeks in the Halifax Infirmary, Deveaux was sent to the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre where he expects to spend at least a month or two recovering.
"Everything is still so much up in the air. Whether I'll be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, whether the legs will start coming back," he said.
Word of Deveaux's injury quickly spread around his community in Cape Breton.
"When I heard about his accident, I was kind of devastated because I watched Kurtis grow up," said Nicky Bonnar, a supporter of Deveaux.
According to Bonnar, the community has rallied around the young man, who many consider an inspiration.
"It might take several months but if he's not on the ice this year, I would bet all my Bruins stuff, and Kurtis is a big Bruins fan if you don't know that, that he'll be back on the ice for sure next year," said Bonnar.
Today, Deveaux uses a wheelchair. He says instead of thinking about it as mobility limiting, he considers it a way for him to get around and do things while recovering.
"The fact that I was born with spina bifida anyway, I always had a bit of a different outlook on life from a lot of people who never had to face any sort of disability," he said.
Deveaux says he has a long road to recovery and knows he may never be able to play hockey again - at least not with contact.
He says despite the hard times, he tries to focus on the positives and counting his blessings.
"I don't know where I'd be without all the support from home, to be honest with you," said Deveaux.