NORWOOD (CBS) – January 23, 2010. Matt Brown was just 15 years old, playing hockey for Norwood High School, and one hit changed everything.
“I felt a player converge on me,” Brown remembered. “I looked down, and at the same time, felt the weight of a body on me. I lost my footing, went headfirst into the boards…. and everything went crazy from there.”
“That’s when he said to me ‘It’s bad. I can’t feel anything,’” said his mom, Sue. “And I said OK. We’ll get through this and get to the end of this journey.”
That hit left Brown a quadriplegic and it could have left him bitter, but he’s forgiven the player who hit him.
“It was not a vicious hit. It was two kids playing hockey; hard, fast – the way it should be,” Matt told WBZ’s Steve Burton. “A split second the other way… I could have been the one behind him and it could’ve been different.”
“So you forgive him?” Burton asked.
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” Brown said.
That moment changed Matt Brown’s life, but also opened doors he’d never imagined. The Boston Bruins embraced the young hockey player, giving him his wheelchair and inviting him to drop a ceremonial first puck at the Garden.
And he became a marathoner – racing in Boston and New York with partner Lucas Carr.
“I made a decision that I’m going to work as hard as I can for as long as it takes to reach that goal. And that goal is to walk again. It’s taken longer than I wanted – or expected – but that goal has never wavered.”
Sue Brown was asked if she believes Matt will walk again.
“I do. And not just because I’m his mom. But I think scientifically we’re getting closer, and Matt has the positive attitude he needs to push forward. Our job is to keep him as healthy and as athletic and in shape as possible, so when that comes and there’s an opportunity, he’s in a good position.”
After graduating from Stonehill College in 2016, Matt is back there, working on his Master’s Degree in marketing and communications and he’s written a book entitled – appropriately – “Line Change.”
“It was a lot of changes going on after I got hurt,” Brown said. “Life changed a lot. Just like any shift in hockey, stuff changes on the fly. And that’s how we go – day by day, hour by hour.”
“Line Change” won’t be in stores until March, but you can buy a book on Kickstarter and get it before the end of the year.