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Anybody remember Matt Stevens?

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Old 12-23-2007, 11:10 AM   #1
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Anybody remember Matt Stevens?

this article was in todays houston chronicle,former redskin Matt stevens is in sad shape now,I always liked the guy,hope his situation improves


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Former Texans safety Matt Stevens remembers nothing of the day that left him paralyzed from the chest down. There are still times it all seems like a dream.

Police estimate he was doing 130 mph when his motorcycle left a road in eastern Tennessee that day last March. A metal pole holding a speed-limit sign was severed.

"Just me being stupid," Stevens said.

He had been in the hospital several weeks when his former wife delivered the bad news.

"Stay calm," she whispered.

He's not sure what she said after that. There was something about not walking again, but he remembers thinking it was no big deal.

"I was so drugged up that I think I said, 'Hey, no problem,' " he recalled. "Really, I just laid there. The more I came around and the more conscious I became, the more it sunk in."

He suffered a severe spinal cord injury, two broken shoulders, two punctured lungs, a bruised heart and so many other internal injuries a doctor couldn't run them down in one setting.

He agreed to talk about all of this for the first time Friday afternoon in a telephone conversation from his mom's home in Trenton, N.J.

He gasps for breath and speaks slowly, as if each word is tortured. After eight months in two hospitals, he's defining his new life in the most basic ways possible.

"Everything is so much harder," he said. "I thought football required discipline, but this is another level."


'Doing the best I can'
There was the day he left the hospital, the day he was able to lift himself from his wheelchair. He's still trying to figure out what the rest of his life is like. He would like to be able to live on his own at some point and maybe get a driver's license.

"I'm just doing the best I can to be normal," he said. "I know that's not the politically correct thing to say, but you know what I mean. I need to get as close to normal as I can be before I can even think about getting a job."

There are days when reality smothers him. He will never play with his two young children the way other dads do. His dream of a career in coaching might not happen.

At the time of the accident, he had begun to pursue that dream by helping coach the football team at his alma mater, Appalachian State.

All of a sudden, a life that had been defined by big dreams is measured second by torturous second.

This is a far cry from the kid who grew up in Chapel Hill, N.C., bouncing from sport to sport, excelling at pretty much all of them.

He played safety at Appalachian State and was a third-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 1996. He made his first NFL start in Game 6 that season, a home contest against Miami.

"That was my favorite moment," he said. "I'd always dreamed of playing in the NFL, and I look up on the screen and see my face. I don't think I can forget that. That's the moment you realize that you'd accomplished your goal."

He played 108 games for five teams in eight NFL seasons. His last two were for the Texans. That first season of 2002, he started every game at free safety for the new franchise.

His NFL career ended when the Texans cut him the following year. He struggled with life after football. His marriage ended. Finally, when he seemed to have figured things out, one careless day changed everything.

"It's mind-boggling," he said. "One day, I'm out there running around doing what I wanted to do, jumping in the pool, playing with my kids. Now all I can do is sit in a chair and watch everybody else. I remember telling myself I'd never buy a sport bike, and then when I did, I told myself I'd never do anything crazy. I did something crazy, and I paid for it."

He pays for it every hour of every day as the simplest of tasks become incomprehensibly difficult and, at times, humiliating.

"I only have half my diaphragm," he said. "I can't spit. I can't blow my nose. People do stuff like that and never give it a second thought. Truthfully, though, I just don't spend much time thinking like that. I can't wallow in self-pity. All I can do is keep working and trying to get better."


Looking to the future
He'd still like a career in coaching.

"I don't know if that's possible," he said. "I don't know if you can coach defensive backs and not be able to get on the field and show them what to do."

He spends an hour a day in rehabilitation, doing range-of-motion and breathing exercises.

"I've gradually worked in some weights and started some water therapy," he said. "It's just a long, slow program."

He stays in touch with a handful of his former teammates, Kailee Wong and Troy Evans and others. He hears from strength coach Dan Riley and a few others.

Because he hasn't done many interviews, fans mostly are unaware of his situation.

"I've heard from some," he said. "Tell them I appreciate the thoughts. They do help. There are going to be some very long days ahead. This journey is about 10 marathons long."

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Old 12-23-2007, 12:20 PM   #2
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Re: Anybody remember Matt Stevens?

I remember him. Thats a bad deal, hes lucky to have survived. God bless him.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:21 PM   #3
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Re: Anybody remember Matt Stevens?

130 mph + Motorcycle + metal pole = ??

The miami project is utilizing stem cell's in expiriments in 08. Half diaphram innervation means hes probably at c3 or c4..hopefully science will find a cure for SCI's in the future they are devastaing injuries. Hope things work out for him but this is one reason I will differ my child's asperations to own a street bike.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:57 PM   #4
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Re: Anybody remember Matt Stevens?

Damn that's tough. I don't recall hearing about that.
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Old 12-23-2007, 04:14 PM   #5
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Re: Anybody remember Matt Stevens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
Damn that's tough. I don't recall hearing about that.
yeah,I hadnt heard anything about it till today either and it happened in march
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Old 12-23-2007, 05:01 PM   #6
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Re: Anybody remember Matt Stevens?

Wow. I heard he had gotten seriously injured but didn't know it was this way
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Old 12-23-2007, 06:15 PM   #7
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Re: Anybody remember Matt Stevens?

Matt was a good DB with us... I always figured Casserley took him to help build Caper's D.

This is the first I heard of this... gotta feel for the guy.
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:37 PM   #8
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Re: Anybody remember Matt Stevens?

Sorry to hear about that.. I'm not the most sypathetic person for things that are self inflicted (by stupid actions or intentionally) but it sucks nonetheless..
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