LAVAL – Andrew Zaccardo remembers the moment that changed his life like it was yesterday.
“It was the first shift of the game, so it happened really, really quickly,” Zaccardo said.
“The hit happened about 15 seconds in, and after that, the rest is history.”
On Oct. 3, 2010, Zaccardo was playing a game with the Midget AA Laval Patriotes and was hit from behind by Ludovic Gauvreau-Beaupré.
Gauvreau-Beaupré was suspended for three games.
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But Zaccardo never walked again.
“I can’t extend my fingers, so it’s probably one of the hardest things about my injury,” he said Thursday.
“You don’t think of it, but you use your hands for everything.”
After the incident, Zaccardo and his family filed a lawsuit against Gauvreau-Beaupré and Chartis Insurance Company of Canada, which insures players in leagues associated with Hockey Quebec and Hockey Canada.
“From one minute to the other, it changed our lives completely,” said Andrew’s mother, Anna Marzella.
“We had to accept it, we had to be strong for Andrew, and that’s what we did.”
In February, the Quebec Superior Court awarded the Zaccardo family $8 million in damages.
“It’s not a lottery,” said his father, Sammy Zaccardo.
“It’s funds for him; he needs care and assistance.”
“I would do anything to give this back – for him to walk again and have a normal life.”
Hockey Quebec declined Global News’ request for an interview, but wrote in an email:
“We respect the court’s ruling in the matter. We must remember that no one is immune to the provisions of the law in regards to their actions and behaviour.”
Nowadays, Zaccardo can’t do much on his own.
His mother is his full-time caregiver and helps him with his everyday routine.
Still, that hasn’t stopped him from moving on with his life.
He’s studying political science at Concordia University and hopes to possibly become a lawyer.
“You can’t just stay home and twiddle your thumbs,” Zaccardo said.
“You gotta move on in life. I’m just glad the court case is over now – no more stress about that, and we could just move on to getting better.”
Editor’s note: Reporter and story author Felicia Parrillo is Zaccardo’s cousin. She interviewed him Thursday.