Athlete Paralyzed By Freak Accident, Returns Home

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OTTAWA, Kan. – An Ottawa University football player returned home recently after spending about two months in a Colorado rehabilitation center.

Matt Bollig, 20, was in a freak weight-lifting accident in July that left him paralyzed. He continues to get stronger, and his spirit remains just as positive as when he left.

“I learned a lot. I learned a lot of the stuff I need to know to be able to do stuff at my house,” Bollig said. He said he learned different routes to get around at school, as well as ways to open doors.

Bollig said he made swift improvements by using biking machines and other equipment. He was able to eventually wiggle his feet and return home for a football game.

“It was an awesome atmosphere,” he said. “I went out with the guys onto the field and sat on the sideline and watched them play.”

The accident left him paralyzed at a level considered paraplegic. But it is his unwavering spirit that drew a few former Chiefs football players, along with many family, friends and teammates, to the Overland Park Regional Medical Center in July.  They all saw him off to tackle what could sometimes be a very emotional journey through rehab.

“There was rough days and there were good days,” he said. “The good days outweigh the rough days because I just had a lot of support there.”

Bollig said his chances of walking again are slim, but not impossible. So, if you ask him, that’s the way he looks at any situation.

“One of my goals is to be able to walk again, but if not, I can do all the same things as other people,” he said.

Bollig said he wants to live a long and happy life and throws around the idea of becoming a weight-lifting coach himself.

He said he goes back to Englewood, Colorado’s Craig Hospital, for a check-up in six months.

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