Outside the Lines will feature the E:60 story of Jack Jablonski, a former athlete who became paralyzed and who continues to defy odds. E:60’s Chris Connelly reports on Sunday, Jan. 8 at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.
As a boy growing up in Minnesota, Jablonski dreamed of a life spent on skates. As a sophomore on the varsity team at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, one of the state’s top high school programs, his future was bright. Then one day his whole life as he knew it changed. E:60 feature producer Russ Dinallo shares some background on Jablonski, now a student at USC, with Front Row.
What did you learn from working on this piece?
This was my first time working with a subject who has the physical challenges Jack does. The first time Jack asked me to hand him the water bottle he keeps at his feet so he could take a drink, it started to sink in how profound some of those challenges are. It changes your approach when it comes to filming. There are times when you want to emphasize what life in a chair is like, so the viewer can understand what Jack goes through. There are other times when you don’t want viewers to think about the chair, so framing and angles on interviews and B-roll becomes important.
How did this story come together?
This story has really evolved since I first pitched it in 2014. At first, we were interested in Jack talking hockey on the radio as a way to stay connected to the game after his injury. As time went on we realized that was just part of the larger story. As Jack put it, “The story of my life after my injury is still being written.” It’s become Jack’s five-year journey since his injury, including his goals with his foundation, and his life at USC.
Why is it important to tell Jack’s story?
Because Jack has gone through more at age 21 than most people go through in a lifetime. The work he’s doing with his foundation is also really worthwhile. The treatment they’re raising money for – “Epidural Stimulation” – is giving people in the spinal cord injury community a lot of hope.