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For week ended February 27, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 01Mar00

Summarized by Lena Booth

Weber State Mascot, LDS RM, Broke Neck But Not Spirit
Salt Lake Tribune 27Feb00 P2
By Michael Vigh and Mark Zoellner: Salt Lake Tribune

OGDEN, UTAH -- Days ago, 22-year-old Weber State University Mascot and Olympic hopeful Matt "The Cat" Maw broke two vertebrae in his neck as he tried a triple back tuck and landed on his head during practice. Doctors fear that he will probably never walk again. However, Maw's outlook remains optimistic.

"His spirits are amazingly high," said his aunt, Tami Hendricks. "He keeps saying that he hopes he can tumble again; he says that he was pretty good. He has to have a kiss from everyone who enters his hospital room."

Family members are dealing with the seriousness of Maw's injuries. "We're now starting to see the reality, but Matt is a fighter. He wanted the Olympics so bad, this is his fight now," Hendricks said.

On Saturday night, Maw was to be honored at halftime of Weber State's final basketball game. His mother, father and stepfather took his place where they were presented with balls signed by the men's volleyball, football and basketlball teams.

Maw's mother, Paula Limburg, said on Saturday night that she now realizes an accident like this can happen to anyone. "When you see your own child unable to scratch himself, blow his nose or bring a phone to his ear," she said, "it gets to you."

Friday morning surgeons transplanted bones to replace the shattered vertebrae and Maw is expected to be breathing on his own by this afternoon.

Maw is considered one of the top three tumblers in the country, attending Weber State on a full-ride scholarship. He was even offered a lucrative job as mascot for Budwiser, but turned it down in order to serve a full time mission to Brazil. All of his athletic achievements aside, family members say Maw is a good person who has a strong faith in God.

Maw is not covered by health insurance and his family says they will need to modify his grandparents' home and buy a van after he undergoes extensive rehabilitation. A fund under the name Matt "The Cat" Maw has been established at America First Credit Union. Anyone who would like to donate can do so at any Wasatch Front branch.


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