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With teammates there for support, injured Bishop Feehan hockey player AJ Quetta departs Boston for rehab center

Members of the Bishop Feehan hockey team raised their sticks outside Massachusetts General Hospital to salute their teammate, AJ Quetta.
Members of the Bishop Feehan hockey team raised their sticks outside Massachusetts General Hospital to salute their teammate, AJ Quetta.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

Bishop Feehan boys’ hockey player AJ Quetta, a senior from North Providence, R.I., who suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a game against Pope Francis last month, left Massachusetts General Hospital Tuesday morning to begin treatment and rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

Quetta’s teammates lined up alongside him in their green-and-gold road jerseys — to signify his treatment away from home — as he was wheeled into an ambulance that transported him to Hanscom Field in Bedford. Quetta left Hanscom on a MedFlight to Atlanta that was scheduled to land around 1:15 p.m.

“It was great for everybody,” said Helena Rafferty, who has a son on the team and is acting as a media liaison for the family and school. She is also the deputy chief of police in Canton.

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“Obviously the players haven’t been able to visit him at the hospital because of COVID regulations. I think being able to support him as he travels on the journey … it shows they’re on his team.

“It’s the first time all of them have been able to see him in person, so hopefully it boosted his spirits.”

Quetta and his family have received financial and emotional support since his injury. A GoFundMe established by Quetta’s sister, Elyse, surpassed the $900,000 mark Tuesday morning, and the Bruins Foundation raised an additional $300,000 on top of donations from both the team and Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Bruins alumni also will play in a fund-raiser game with the Boston Junior Huskies Saturday at the Canton Ice House.

Rafferty said every donation helps.

“I know it looks like big numbers, but if you research the costs of this injury, the amount of money is year one,” she said.

Members of the Bishop Feehan hockey team held signs supporting their teammate, AJ Quetta, outside MGH.
Members of the Bishop Feehan hockey team held signs supporting their teammate, AJ Quetta, outside MGH.Nathan Klima/For the Boston Globe
Members of the Bishop Feehan hockey team left MGH after their teammate, AJ Quetta, left in a Med Flight ambulance.
Members of the Bishop Feehan hockey team left MGH after their teammate, AJ Quetta, left in a Med Flight ambulance.Nathan Klima/For the Boston Globe