ALAMOSA, CO - There was a time, Matt Gersick didn't t think he could be beat. He had a track record of success as a football player at Pueblo West who continued to play well at Adams State.
Coming out o high school, my first year was successful. I was thinking I'm only gonna get better," said Gersick.
He was set to compete for the starting running back job his sophomore year. Until tragedy struck before the first game. Gersick recalls the scary moment.
"I'm in a drill in practiced and I step in a hole and my knee locks out. Then a guy hits me at the same time."
Gersick tore every ligament in his knee. His injury was similar but worse than the one made famous by Willis McGahee at the University of Miami. Initially, Gersick was worried he suffered some nerve and arteriole damage, which turned out to not be the case. However, he did leave Alamosa to return home to Pueblo to discuss his options, which were very frightening.
"For the first week, doctors told me I may never walk again. They may have to amputate my leg," Gersick remembers. "You think your invincible, then something like that knocks you down. It's pretty scary."
Gersick put his future in the hands of Dr. David Walden of Premier Orthopedics in Colorado Springs who rebuilt his knee with the help of donor tissue. Dr. Walden says it was a pretty complicated surgery.
"I only see a few of these types of injuries a year. It was as bad as it gets for a knee injury," recalls Dr. Walden.
After three successful surgeries, and a lengthy rehab, Matt Gersick is again, a premier college athlete, in track and field. He s qualified for nationals in discus, hammer throw and shot put. He is competing this week at the Division II National Championships in North Carolina.
Gersick again has lofty goals for himself. "I want to be a national champion, and I'm in decent position to do that," he is very proud to say.
Gersick still thinks he can t be beat. But victory has taken on a whole new meaning.
"I'm walking today, and having fun competing."