FOXBOROUGH (AP) — A few minutes before the first explosion near the Boston Marathon finish line, Matt Reis and his 7-year-old son had moved to another spot.
When he heard the blast, the goalkeeper for the New England Revolution rushed back to find his father-in-law bleeding and in pain. Reis said he put pressure on the wound with his jacket, made a tourniquet with his belt, then, as others tended to John Odom near the finish line, headed back down the course to find his wife, who was running the race.
He tried “to stay as calm as possible and think as rationally as possible.”
Nearly two weeks later, Odom’s condition has been changed from critical to serious, Reis said.
And Reis doesn’t give much thought to those responsible for the bombing.
“It hasn’t really been much on our family’s mind as to why they did it. Any reason is not a good enough reason for us,” he said Saturday. “Instead of creating hysteria and despair, they’ve really created a lot of hope.”
One suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a shootout with police. His brother, Dzhokhar, is in custody.
Reis, a 16-year MLS veteran, spoke before the Revolution’s home game Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union. He was not in the starting lineup and did not play in the team’s only other game since the bombings.
He said his father-in-law has undergone eight or nine surgeries.
“He had received a wound that went from the outside of his left leg, through his left leg and embedded in his right leg,” Reis said. “It was one wound, but with the force that it took for that to travel all the way through his body, it created quite (some) damage in there.”
Infections have gone down following treatment with antibiotics and surgeries were performed to clear out dead or dying tissue, he said. The latest surgery Saturday didn’t detect any more tissue problems, he added.
“Kind of happy with that,” Reis said. “He still does have a fragment about the size of a dime in his left leg that is in a spot that they can’t really get to.”
A breathing tube has been removed and Odom is “starting to communicate,” Reis said, “but we have a long, long road to recovery.”
He said that about 10 minutes before the first of two Boston Marathon bombings April 15, his group of seven family members arrived in front of Marathon Sports, where the bomb went off. But he moved closer to the finish line with his son Jacob and his brother-in-law about two minutes before the explosion. When he heard it, he said, he handed Jacob to his brother-in-law and hurried to the site of the blast.
When he got there, his mother-in-law was crouched over Odom, he said.
“He was just kind of moaning that his leg hurt and he was in a lot of pain,” Reis said. “My mother-in-law had wrapped a pair of pants that we were going to give to my wife after the finish around his leg and she said that we needed a tourniquet.”
His wife, Nicole, had been running for the New England Patriots charitable foundation. The Patriots and the Revolution both are owned by Robert Kraft.
“A marathon is about enduring,” Reis said, “and to see what these people tried to do and how crudely they did it and what they tried to take from us, I guess they didn’t realize what that would do to our city and how it created such a love and support around the people that it has affected.”
Reis, in his 11th season with the Revolution, has found it tough to focus on soccer. But spending time with teammates has been helpful.
“My focus has really had to be on my family and making sure that we are trying to get through this. And we are getting through this,” he said, “but this is my second family here and the guys in the locker room have been supportive.
“Soccer’s my next love and I love being here and I love playing and I love practicing and everything that goes along with it, but it has been tough. But I think getting back to soccer has helped. It’s helped a lot in getting back into somewhat of a normal routine.”
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.