For many cystic fibrosis (CF) patients who grew up in years past, one of the greatest hurdles and frustrations was being told they couldn’t do something, especially sports or physical activities.
Sometimes it was a doctor putting up a barrier, sometimes nervous parents—but over time, it can be easy for the patient to accept those barriers as their own. But for high school honor student and star quarterback, Matt, those barriers were non-existent.
As a child, Matt’s father assumed the burden of worrying about his son’s health, and worked hard behind the scenes to make sure Matt was well-nourished and getting the treatments he needed. He also made sure his son was exercising and getting a chance to play the sports he loved.
To get Matt into the right frame of mind, his dad compared Matt’s medications and daily treatment regimen to the training and supplements the world’s best athletes need to stay at the top of their game.
The approach worked, and as Matt grew he understood that his treatment regimen and exercise routine were key to staying healthy and playing sports. He also carried the discipline he’d learned treating his cystic fibrosis into his academic life—Matt has managed to maintain a 4.5 GPA, even on top of his intense football practice and his twice daily breathing treatments.
Matt freely admits it’s not always easy to fit in his cystic fibrosis treatments with his football training, academics, and everything else. But he sees his treatments as the top priority in his schedule.
It’s that kind of attitude and perspective that has made Matt a natural leader—last season, he scored 35 touchdowns and helped lead his team to the state quarter finals. It’s also made him a cystic fibrosis role model, an idea Matt embraces because he wants to inspire others to reach for their own goals.
Matt has never allowed any barriers to hold him back; he hopes to show others that with the right preparation and training, there are no barriers that can hold them back either.