Brendan O'Callaghan is recovering after the 11-year-old New York Rangers fan was among those injured when a school bus collided with a dump truck in Mount Olive, New Jersey, on May 17.
In an attempt to lift his spirits, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist sent an autographed stick to the young hockey player's hospital room.
"[Lundqvist] reaching out and sending the stick was ... you see these players look at it as more than a game," Brendan's father, Arnie O'Callaghan, told NHL.com. "In times like this, they're role models and the power and influence they have to make somebody's day is amazing."
Brendan has a severe concussion, fractured temple, broken clavicle, punctured lung and broken nose, but his father said doctors expect him to make a full recovery and that he will likely play hockey again.
Brendan is a huge Rangers fan and goalie who idolizes Lundqvist, and a video Arnie posted of him opening the stick from Lundqvist went viral. Lundqvist learned about Brendan's condition from Dr. Anil Ranawat, an assistant team physician for the Rangers, and sent the gift.
Arnie said Brendan has been groggy since the crash, which tragically killed a student and teacher and left more than 40 people injured, according to NorthJersey.com. But when he opened the signed stick, Arnie said he saw his son's eyes light up a little.
"I was happy that he knew who No. 30 was," Arnie said. "I mean that's his idol."
Brendan also received a signed puck from Lundqvist and a signed stick from Rangers goalie Ondrej Pavelec. He received a package from the New York Yankees, and members of the New York Giants recorded messages for him.
Brendan was among many who posted an Instagram photo of their hockey sticks to honor the victims of the fatal April 6 bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos junior team in Saskatchewan. Even still, Arnie has been amazed at the response to the crash in New Jersey.
Brendan's Paramus Spartans teammates have worn helmet decals reading "Brendan Strong" with his No. 36, and T-shirts that say "Spartan Strong" with his name on them.
"The support of the community, and the people I didn't even know, was tremendous," Arnie said.
As for the Lundqvist stick, it is right by his side.
"He knows it's there," Arnie said. "He leaves it by his hospital bed."