Growing up, Army Captain Matt Staton played sports and was extensively involved in outdoor activities. But a catastrophic injury he incurred while being deployed in Iraq left him questioning where does he go from here and what can he do.
While with the 1-8 Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Matt suffered several gunshot wounds on January 29, 2004 which significantly injured his leg and left hip. In addition, multiple IED exposures caused Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He continued to serve on active duty for three years after that date before eventually being medically-retired from the military.
In 2010, while trying to help others, Matt realized he needed to work on himself. One of the things he needed to do was to get back to the core base of what he grew up with… outdoor activities. Through Disabled Sports USA, Matt was able to experience golf, skiing, scuba, and other adaptive sports. “It gave me that drive again,” he said.
At one DSUSA event, Matt connected with Wintergreen Adaptive Sports. Although he grew up 45 minutes away from the ski resort, he had never actually never skied there before. Matt’s desire to give back led him to start working at Wintergreen Adaptive Sports in 2011. He is a PSIA Level 1 Instructor and works a lot with kids through their program, particularly kids with Cerebral Palsy and Autism.
Matt is not only a certified ski instructor, but also an open water scuba instructor as well. He received his Master Diver certification with help from Disabled Sports USA. It is those two sports, skiing and scuba, that he enjoys the most because he teaches and is able to give back to others.
The VMI graduate also works as a Staff Assistant to the Secretary of the Army, where he works on issues for ill, injured, and wounded soldiers from the date of their injury until their transition to the VA. Matt not only rediscovered the power of sports for himself, he is helping many others rebuild their lives through sports. “To be able to show my peers that even though I have had a catastrophic injury, there are things in life that you can do through sports,” he said. “So what if you have a disability, be known for your abilities.”
Check out this video on Matt Staton.