The Grundy County native plays baseball for Spoon River Community College and didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to play summer ball this season with the Springfield-based Lucky Horseshoes in the Prospect League.
The right-hander was on the mound Thursday, June 8, for his second outing of the season when he was struck in the head by the comebacker. He raised his glove defensively but not quite in time to prevent a frightening injury.
Once he regained consciousness, Matt remembers everything. He had suffered a skull fracture, and he was not a fan of the uncomfortable neck brace he had to wear to SMH, but he’s grateful it did its job to prevent further injury. He also appreciates what he calls the “phenomenal care” he received – from the Emergency Department team to the doctors and nurses who cared for him in intensive care.
The day after the injury, concern about two brain bleeds led to Matt having brain surgery, which was performed by SIU Medicine neurosurgeon Breck Jones, MD.
Today, Matt is home and back in the gym. Cleared for light lifting, he is focused on regaining some of the weight and strength he lost during recovery. He’s down to just one post-surgery medication and is back behind the wheel. His headaches are gone.
“The support from people in Springfield got me to where I’m at now,” said Matt. “My recovery is going great, but there were definitely hard times when I was experiencing pain, and I would look at the comments on social media, and I would feel so much better. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
His mom echoes those thoughts. She is especially grateful for the high quality of care Matt received at Memorial.
“Everyone kept telling us to take him to Memorial,” she said. “I would have never thought he was going to have brain surgery on a Friday night and come home Monday morning. I just thank God every day that he’s OK. We also appreciate the support from everyone – the whole town, the Shoes organization, everyone who reached out, everyone who kept people informed. The prayers and the support were unbelievable.”
As for Matt, he continues to cheer on his Shoes teammates from home and work on getting stronger. He says to look for him on the mound for Spoon River next spring, playing the game he loves.