North Shore native paralyzed in basketball game helps others with traumatic spinal cord injuries

DEDHAM, Mass. — It was a remarkably powerful moment that stood out, because Matt Wetherbee could stand up, surprising his wife during their wedding vows.

“A goal of mine was to do that. Obviously, you want to be standing at your own wedding. I had a couple of groomsmen assist with it and it was awesome. I mean I’ve been working for it for three years,” he said.

Just one week before Wetherbee was planning to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Kaitlyn, in June of 2016, he suffered a catastrophic injury while playing in a men’s league basketball game after work.

“I was driving to the basket and got tripped by a defender and ended up going head-first into the wall underneath the basket and pretty much was instantly paralyzed from the shoulders down,” he said.

In an instant his world changed forever.

After getting out of the hospital, the 34-year-old Marblehead native spent two years of intense and grueling exercise therapy at Journey Forward, a non-profit facility in Canton that serves clients with spinal cord injuries.

Shortly after, Wetherbee launched a non-profit called The MW Fund when he realized how important it was for those living with spinal cord injuries to have access to daily exercise and therapy.

The fund provides scholarships since insurance often does not cover the cost of exercise facilities.

“Our motto is focus on the positive for the foundation and that’s all you can do and hopefully make a difference,” he said.

Wetherbee currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife where he’s participating cutting-edge research at the University of Louisville.

It’s resulted in a lot of positive changes for Matt, including the ability to stand, regulate blood pressure, move voluntarily, improvements in bowel and bladder function, and overall mental and physical health.

To learn more about The MW Fund, click here.

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