ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The Bishop Feehan High School varsity hockey star who suffered a spinal cord injury during a game earlier this year is returning to the team, but not as a player.
Bishop Feehan said Thursday that AJ Quetta will be joining the team as an assistant coach.
The North Providence native was seriously injured after missing a shoulder check and crashing head-first into the boards during a game back in January.
Quetta’s injury left him paralyzed from the chest down. He spent nearly three months in an Atlanta rehab hospital recovering and missed the remainder of his last season.
“I never got to say goodbye to the game, like a lot of seniors do,” Quetta said. “I guess I’m never going to have to say goodbye.”
As assistant coach, Quetta’s responsibilities will include working with the players, assisting with breaking down practice and game film for the team, brand building and program communication, according to Bishop Feehan.
“I still wish I was out there shooting the pucks and everything like that,” he said. “I’ll have to get used to watching more than playing, [but] I’m excited.”
Bishop Feehan head coach David Franzosa believes Quetta is the perfect man for the job.
“Integrity, working hard, giving back to the community,” Franzosa said. “When I asked him if he was willing to be a coach, I said ‘think about it.’ He took one second and he said ‘I’m all in coach.'”
Franzosa said Quetta will also be working specifically with the forwards, which is the position he used to play.
“Anything that AJ can bring, obviously, is going to be inspirational for the team,” Franzosa said. “Anything the kids are going through, AJ will be able to relate to.”
Meanwhile, Quetta has repeatedly said his main goal is to walk again.
“A lot of people go to the gym, they work out for six hours for their 6-packs,” Quetta said. “I go there and it’s a totally different ball game. You don’t see those types of improvements, but getting more mobility and flexibility … is what I’m looking for and I have been seeing it.”