Vengeance Program News…
Vengeance Program News…
December 12, 2014
From Carolyn (mom), Kevin's one year journey and where he is headed.
Kevin Kenny – Handicapable one year later….
It's been a little more than a year since Kevin endured a severe spinal cord injury during a Pittsburgh Vengeance hockey game on November 16, 2013. Last year, I was at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, learning that my passionate, full of life, overactive, hilarious and loving son was paralyzed. Injured in a game he loved so very much and treasured more anything.
It was one of the most heartbreaking and scariest moments of our lives. It was a normal game day for Kevin. I had to pick out his clothes (I vividly remember the M&M tie) as I did for all games. One of his many routines prior to a game.
He was just going after the puck in the zone. He was hit as he had been thousands of times before. A normal play in the course of the game. Nothing malicious, nothing intentional, just a normal play. He was hit by an opposing player and hit the boards with his back. I was watching from the other end. In my mind I knew it was him. I couldn't see the number on the jersey. Where was Kevin? I couldn't see him. Then I looked at the player on the ice, his feet weren't moving. That can't be Kevin. Every since he was 7 years old we had ONE rule for our kids in hockey, just one, MOVE YOUR FEET. The player on the ice wasn't moving his feet. That couldn't be Kevin.
It was Kevin.
He continued to joke with his teammates while he was on the ice. Typical Kevin. Not allowing his teammates to worry or be down. He didn't want the opponents to worry either. After all, it's hockey, his game.
At the hospital we were treated with kindness and compassion while we waited for news of Kevin's injury. I need air. This wasn't happening. I called a few friends who weren't there. It wasn't real. Then I saw his teammates arriving, and their parents. This was real. Thank you to every player, parent, coach, friend and medical professional for sharing our grief and pain that night, one year ago.
He was cared for by the most amazing medical professionals. His surgeon was amazing and performed magic in treating my son. His support in the waiting room was overwhelming. Everyone there was there for one reason, Kevin. That spoke volumes to me. My son has touched that many people! He is a true friend, teammate, student, brother and son. I was speechless. These people love my son and wanted to share our worry about him and in the fact that he is a warrior.
He's always been a tough kid. Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at age 9. He could have stopped playing hockey and refused to follow the daily medicine routine. But he's Kevin. Nothing stops him.
He's learned the true meaning of friends from a very young age through this great sport. His coaches helped to mold his spirit and drive for the game. His first coach - his father. His greatest coach - Coach Quinn. His father taught him to be a humble winner and gracious loser. Coach Quinn taught him leadership, passion and strength. Some of Coach's quotes are still a part of Kevin's daily life, two favorites - "Frustration is a sign of weakness" and everyone's favorite - "We live in a world of no excuses." Kevin continues to live by those beliefs today, and always will.
It's been a tough year. One I would never ever ever ever wish on any one.
Thanks to every single person who has donated, prayed, cared for, helped, given time for, cried, laughed and remembered Kevin and his love of life over this past year! We could never begin to repay your generosity, kindness, prayers, hope and love.
There are so many individuals who have shared this journey with Kevin, through true friendship, absolute kindness, unbelievable generosity and unconditional love. I could not even begin to name each and ever person who has contributed to his recovery and transition so I’ll share with you what these amazing souls have done for Kevin:
· Provided food, drinks, snacks and friendship during his time at UPMC Presby in the ICU.
· Provided upkeep, care and chores for us at home during Kevin’s stay at the hospitals and rehabilitation.
· Thoughtful gestures of holiday decorations at our home last Christmas.
· The generosity of many many many hockey jerseys from local, national and international teams.
· Quilts and blankets made especially for 7Kenny Strong.
· Spaghetti Dinner – coordination of event, donation of supplies, event venue and volunteers.
· Creation of the 7Kenny Strong fund and campaign – great example of many many individuals with kind hearts that are too many to name but will never know of our unbelievable gratitude for their love and support of Kevin. www.gofundme.com/5d9lrk
· Through the generosity of the 7Kenny Strong Fund we were able to purchase a handicap accessible van for Kevin’s transportation needs.
· 50/50 raffles, at local games, junior league games and local professional hockey games.
· Dek hockey tournament to assist with fundraising.
· Local and national news and hockey coverage with stories and well wishes.
· The donations of supplies for Kevin’s care and transition.
· The numerous numerous Cards for Kenny campaign. Card from around the country as far away as Washington state.
· The 7Kenny Strong merchandise – hats, tshirts, sweatshirts, wristbands (so many that each group sold out their original quota).
· The banners of signatures from hockey players in tournaments, local and junior leagues.
· The many pictures and drawings of hockey players and well wishes.
· Temporary living home for the transition from the hospital to Kevin house. Including house cleaning, utilities, use of the grounds and Kevin’s favorite – the donkey.
· Many many many meals prepared for us during the transition. PS – delicious and thoughtful!
· Archtecturial assistance for accomodations needs for our home, Kevin’s home.
· Elevator to provide Kevin with the ability to live and move about in his home as he did prior to his injury.
· Labor and supplies for the remodel of our home to accommodate Kevin.
· Driveway pavement so that Kevin could stroll (roll) around his house during warmer weather and avoid getting stuck in the mud and stones.
· Silent auction/raffle at local restaurant, coordination of event and many many many donations of items at raffle.
· Tickets to Penguins games for Kevin to attend and meet the players, many of whom remain close to him today.
· Tailgates and ceremony with Kevin’s junior hockey team, with the same team played when his injury occurred.
SOOOOO MANY individuals, teams, businesses and friends to thank. I hope I have not missed anything or anyone, if I have I’m truly sorry. We are extremely humbled by all of the generosity and kindness. Debts we can never repay.
Throughout the year Kevin has participated in outpatient therapy at UPMC Southside and was one of the favorite patients. Ask them about the “Happy” song. HA!
His pastimes have not changed much. He has continued to attend high school hockey games and junior hockey games. He regularly has a house full of friends visiting and driving him to locations of his choice (restaurants and movies are his favorites). He always has his favorite food (tacos) and snacks (Scooby snacks) on hand.
We have researched many options throughout the year on potential studies that Kevin would want to participate in. There are so many options and unbelievable progress for paralysis locally, nationally and internationally. Some of the studies would require relocation for Kevin in order to participate. Choice of the study to participate in is also a factor as many of them are a one time only option. Meaning that once a choice is made for a study, other options become unavailable. Option choices become very difficult knowing this is a choice for Kevin’s future.
Kevin was approached about potential participation in a local stem cell study here in Pittsburgh. This study is still in the initial stage and the application process should begin in the next month or two. His eligibility would be based on a number of factors, one of which would be his injury level.
Kevin recently had his one year follow-ups with his neurosurgeon and his rehab physician. His examinations show that the area of injury on his spinal cord has shrunk to about half its original size. Spinal cord injuries are classified according to what is known as the ASIA Scale. Kevin’s injury was originally classified as ASIA Level A, meaning a complete loss of sensation/function below the site of the injury-the most serious classification. Based upon his most recent examination, he has improved to ASIA Level C, meaning the injury is not complete and he has regained some level of sensation/function below the level of the injury (Level E would be normal sensation/function). He continues to be in excellent spirits and is hopeful that his recovery will continue.
Our understanding of the upcoming stem cell trial is that it is a procedure whereby neural stem cells are surgically implanted at or around the site of the injury. Pre-clinical testing showed that these cells then will regenerate neural connections that have been lost in the hope of regaining some level of sensation/function below the injury. There currently are no predictions on what or how much sensation or function may be regained, although tests performed on mice and dogs have shown promising results. More information can be found here:
Kevin continues to be in excellent spirits and is hopeful that his recovery will continue.
Yes my son became a Quadrapalegic due to this accident. But he became much more to me, my hero. He'll always be my son, my friend, my baby, my daughter's nemesis, my reckin ball and my great Gazoo.
My son has helped me to realize that every day is a gift. A true joy. And he has given me one special gift every day since, a smile! His great big beautiful heart melting genuine loving SMILE!
December 2, 2014
October 15, 2014
"All is well here, we’re just getting anxious about an upcoming stem cell trial that Kevin may be able to participate in next month. I will make sure Kevin can attend the th event—I presume it’s at a home game. The only contingency would be a conflict with the stem cell thing, but I won’t know until we get notified.
Kevin is doing very well. Still in high spirits and maintaining a positive attitude. He is settled in to his old third floor penthouse and is spending a great deal of time with Colleen who has taken a year off from school to help with our transition and his needs. In all probability, Kevin has recovered as much as he is going to via conventional rehab. Although he has not regained much in the way of sensation or movement since his injury, he continues to get stronger and his blood pressure issues appear to have resolved. We have just ordered him a power assist wheelchair. This is similar to a conventional manual wheelchair but has motors on the wheels that give a slight assist as the user pushes on them. You may remember Kevin was using one when he was at Mercy and really liked it a lot more than the power chair. It will probably arrive next month some time. As I said, we are all anxiously awaiting notice of the stem cell trial."
The Jr Vengeance provide area student athletes an opportunity to further develop their skills gained through youth hockey.
Our approach ensures that each player is competing at the highest level of capability while still being challenged to take his game to the next level. With the Pittsburgh Vengeance, each player maximizes his opportunity to accelerate his advancement through the Junior ranks.
Our Jr A team compets at the highest tuition based level hockey in the Nation and in a league that is a direct feeder to the Tier II Jr A NAHL. These are the region's top players along with some out-of-town prospects we house who are eager to advance their hockey careers.
For the 2013 season, we will again compete in the NA3HL, the nations premier Tier III Jr league. From the NA3HL site; The NA3HL has been around since the mid-1980’s. In today’s ever-changing world of Tier III junior hockey in the United States, the NA3HL is a testimony to the stability and sustainability just what junior hockey should and can be.
The league began as the Central States Hockey League (CSHL) and quickly became a league that build a tradition on moving players onto the next levels of junior and college hockey.
You can view news specific about the team and our Program teams by clicking on the teams NEWS tab on the Home page. Of course, you can sleo follow the players and view their statistics on PointStreak and you can watch the games live via the internet on FastHockey.
The Jr Vengeance membership in the NAHL Network will undoubtedly ensure that more players will be scouted especially at the NAHL sponsored showcase events which are expected to result in more tenders and draft opportuinities for our players.
Through the NAHL's procurement system, the Jr Vengeance will focus on player advancemment to the NAHL which has a long-held reputation as a fertile ground for collegiate prospects.
The NAHL continues to be a trendsetter in fulfilling its mission to develop Junior, Midget and High School players for collegiate and professional hockey success. In fact, several NAHL alums are making a profound impact in NCAA and even NHL programs.
Their sponsored Showcase and Top Prospects Tournaments enable one-stop shopping for hordes of college and pro scouts to see some of the continent's most promising Midget and Junior-aged talent.
Our players receive further exposure through our live Webcasts of our home games plus all NA3HL and NAPHL event games presented by FASTHockey. Also, through comprehensive Point Streak statistics and timely game reports, our web promotes the teams' and players' on-ice achievements.
Thank you for your support and together we remain #7KennyStrong!:"
For an in-depth look at why the NA3HL is the best training ground in the country by providing the best exposure and developmental vehicles available for student-athletes at the Tier III junior level, view the Video...
This past season, the NA3HL’s North Iowa Bulls were crowned as the USA Hockey Tier III Junior National Champions and a record number of players from the NA3HL were drafted and tendered in the NAHL and made commitments to the NCAA and ACHA.
The NA3HL ‘A Step Above the Rest’ video discusses three main points of the league: The exposure, the game and the competition. Footage was taken from the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, which was held this past May in Frisco, Texas and featured 80 of the top prospects the NA3HL had to offer from this past season.
“When it comes to tuition-based junior models, there are a lot of choices out there and we wanted to show everyone why the NA3HL is an option that is a step above the rest,” said NAHL Commissioner and NA3HL President Mark Frankenfeld. “We feel like the NA3HL not only provides the prospective player the best on-ice training and competition, but also gives them a once-in-a-lifetime experience that gives them a great opportunity to advance their careers. In just three short years, the NA3HL has been able to accomplish a lot and exceed expectations. This includes the record number of players advancing to the next levels of hockey and winning the USA Hockey Tier III junior National Championship this past season.”
The video was developed by the NA3HL staff and shot by videographer Matt Thiessen.
PJP Archives DB includes:
List of Former Players by NAME, Click HERE
List of Former Players by Team, Click HERE
TEAM & PLAYER Statistics, click HERE **
** Former Players can check their stats here!
This project is a Work in Progress. While we have updated the DB to reflect many of the higher level advancements, we're still working on Tier III Jr placement (we have 100+) and Draft selections:
The Pittsburgh Jr A Penguins are proud members of the NAHL Network. Find more detail about each of the Jr Programs in the NAHL Network below. If interested in our program and tryouts for the 2011 season, click HERE.
Our Tier I teams will compete inthe NJPHL for the 2011-12 season.