WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — “I’m very lucky, to say the least. State Police even told me they don’t understand how I’m alive.”
Back in February, Kevin MacDonald was driving with his best friend and teammate, Matt Dennison, in the passenger seat when they were hit head-on by an alleged drunk driver in Exeter.
Kevin survived, but Matt died from his injuries a few weeks after the crash.
Now Kevin is back on the ice, doing something he wasn’t sure he would ever be able to do again — play hockey.
“One of the things I remember being told in the hospital is that I may be playing goalie next year, and to think I’m on the ice in seven months is almost impossible, to say the least,” he recalled.
“I broke my arm and the break broke skin so I have two plates in my arm and on my femur I have a 20-inch rod on it and two screws in my leg,” he continued. “Thankfully that’s all I have.”
His parents, Kristine Bouthillier and Jared MacDonald, have never been happier to be back inside ice rinks again.
“Kevin has put in a lot of work,” Jared said. “The physical therapy, the rehab, and he’s really worked to get back out there.”
Kevin graduated from West Warwick High School in May and is now playing for the Rhode Island Blues U18 team, with hopes of one day playing in college.
“His first game out, that was emotional for more reasons than just him being out there,” Kristine said. “He’s usually out there with Matt and now it’s just him.”
“I get goosebumps every time, if I said daily I don’t even think I’d be exaggerating,” Jared said. “Seeing Kevin back out here now is great and we love it, but there is a piece that should be out there with him.”
Kevin says he keeps Matt in his thoughts every day.
“I sleep with the stuffed animal I gave him in the hospital, that was given to me when I was in the hospital and gave to him to stay with him,” Kevin recalled. “I have his card with his picture on it at the funeral and flowers from when they buried him so I keep him in my thoughts.”
“He would definitely be happy for me,” he continued.
Aside from the emotional and physical scars, Kevin now has a permanent tattoo on his body to honor his best friend.
“It has Matt’s birthday, the number 16, the time of day when he passed, 7:24 p.m., it’s his initials, Matthew Mark Dennison, and it’s the day he passed in Roman numerals.”
Alexander Krajewski, a North Kingstown man and former Newport firefighter, was driving the car that hit Matt and Kevin.
Last month, he pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence resulting in death, driving to endanger resulting in death, and two counts of driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injury.