A spokesman for Morristown Medical Center said Michael Nichols, a senior forward with the Monroe Falcons, was reported "resting and breathing on his own" following surgery, the (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported Sunday.
Nichols was injured during a game against the Vernon High School team at Skylands Ice World in Stockholm, N.J.
"It happened so fast," said Monroe coach Jerry Minter. "He was skating into the offensive zone after a loose puck. He went to take a shot and was checked in the process, headfirst into the boards at full speed."
Nichols was airlifted to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fractured C-5 vertebra.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]