Sophomore Overcomes Illness for Football
Published: Thursday, March 23, 2006
Updated: Sunday, February 22, 2009 02:02
Four surgeries and years of physical therapy later, Matthew Albert Hopkins, a William Paterson University sophomore, has done it all for the love of football.
Hopkins suffered a separated shoulder when he was 10. As a high school student he twice tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, and this year he tore the rotator cuff in his shoulder. This was the "most painful" of all of Hopkins' injuries.
"It got to the point where it would pop out opening a door, like my car door."
The doctors told Hopkins that he would never play football again.
"I'm fine and playing, and I just had my fourth surgery from football and I haven't given up."
Hopkins recalls how difficult recovery was after each surgery.
"Anytime you have surgeries it affects you because you can't do what you want for a long time and you're uncomfortable because you're in pain, but nothing can amount to my kidney disease I had. Nothing."
Hopkins has overcome Nephrotic Syndrome, or FSGS, a kidney disease where protein is lost protein through the urine and water is retained.
While spending a month in the hospital battling FSGS his senior year of high school, Hopkins gained about 50 pounds of water within a week and a half. He had blood clots in his leg that broke off into his lungs, which caused breathing problems. Hopkins' heart was enlarged by 70 percent, as it had to work harder on one side.
Hopkins, who has played for WPU for the last two years, has made a lot of physical sacrifices for his love of football. The Trenton resident does it for the unexplainable feeling he gets when he puts on his equipment and runs out onto the field.
"Football is like a roller coaster. It's all about emotions."
Hopkins is earning an Exercise and Movement Science degree since he wants to be a Physical Education instructor for high school students as well as a football coach.
"I want to help kids do the thing in life I love."