The Rev. Dimitrie Vincent from St. Thomas Orthodox in Farmington Hills

Nearly two months ago, "Father D" lost his balance and fell awkwardly into the boards at Redford Ice Arena during an over-60 men’s recreational hockey league game. The Rev. Dimitrie Vincent could not get back up.

At first the 66-year-old Redford resident could barely move his fingers and toes. Vincent — parish priest at St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Farmington Hills — suffered a compressed spinal cord in the accident and, during the ensuing weeks and months, has dealt with surgery, an infection, getting shuttled between hospitals and going through countless hours of grueling physical therapy.

Progress in physical therapy is slow, but steady. Because Vincent has what is termed an incomplete spinal cord injury, he can walk with assistance.

Many people are calling up Vincent and wishing him the best, from all over North America. Because he served in a parish in St. Louis, Mo., before moving to Michigan in 2005, members of the St. Louis Blues have called him.

“I’m grateful that through time, the great skill of the surgeons and the great staff of rehabilitation and a lot of prayer, I’ve been able to recover slowly but surely the use of my hands and feet.”



How to help

Who: The Rev. Dimitrie Vincent, 66, a.k.a. "Father D," is recovering from a serious spinal cord injury sustained Nov. 25 while playing in an over-60 men's recreational hockey game. He has what is described as an "incomplete" spinal cord injury, which means he retains some motor and sensory function. He gets around via wheelchair, but he is able to walk in very limited fashion with assistance.

What: R&G Hockey League and the Plymouth Puckmasters teamed up to host an adult league doubleheader/fundraiser Jan. 15 at Plymouth Cultural Center. The Hockey has Heart nonprofit organization donated $10,000 and has set up an account to raise additional funds; chipping in with $3,600 for Vincent's medical care were players from the leagues.

Donate: Those interested in helping defray medical costs for the Vincent as he recovers may do so by going to the Hockey has Heart website and clicking the link

On tap: A dinner and auction for Vincent is scheduled to take place Saturday, March 24, at St. George Romanian Orthodox Cathedral of Greater Detroit in Southfield. Go to the Hockey has Heart website for more information.