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Athens, Ont. junior hockey player suffers 'potentially life changing' injury after hit from behind

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Mac Spinelli, a junior hockey player in Athens, Ont., has suffered what the team is calling a "potentially life changing" injury, after being hit from behind during a playoff game on Feb. 27.

"Mac was checked from behind by an opposing player and crashed violently into the boards, fracturing two vertebrae in his neck along with a concussion," the Athens Aeros said in a social media post.

The Aeros, part of the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League, were in Smiths Falls for Game 3 of their series, when Spinelli was hit from behind.

His family says he was diagnosed with his fourth concussion, which will prevent him from playing contact hockey ever again. They added that his C6 and C7 vertebrae were fractured and he is lucky he isn't paralyzed.

The team made the post about the 19-year-old defenseman on Friday, three days after the injury occurred.

The Aeros were eliminated from the EOJHL playoffs that night.

Spinelli is a student at Queen’s University, studying economics and commerce. His family says the injuries have made it difficult for him to continue his studies.

Athens is located approximately 120 kilometres southwest of Ottawa.

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