DETROIT – The Paralympic Games are often described as “the best of humanity.”
The Tokyo Summer Paralympics finished Sept. 5 and one Metro Detroit native overcame a lot to bring home a Gold medal -- again.
Matt Scott brought home a Gold medal from Rio in the 2016 Summer Paralympics. He’s a wheelchair basketball legend who has played in five Paralympic Games.
“The first one was in Athens in 2004,” Scott said. “Been in every one ever since consecutively.”
Scott has been successful at every level -- from street courts in Metro Detroit to college basketball at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to professional leagues in Europe.
When Team USA won a gold medal in Rio in 2016, it fulfilled a life-long dream for Scott. He assumed he’d go for gold again in Tokyo, but he was hit with septic shock in 2018. Scott was hospitalized for nearly five months and had to go through intensive care and extensive rehabilitation therapy.
Scott said he wasn’t sure if he’d ever play at a high level again.
“When I woke up from coma, I remember trying to reach for water,” Scott recalled. “I couldn’t hold it. Now I hold this medal -- it’s heavy.”
Scott said he got through his life-threatening illness with support from his family, friends and teammates. With his mind back on the game, he reached out to the team’s strength and condition coach, Katie McClosky, who helped him find ways to regain his strength while still in the hospital.
Then it was back to work with the national team.
In Tokyo, Team USA beat Japan 64-60 on Sept. 4.
Scott said he thought about just how far he’d come on the bus ride to the airport. It was an emotional moment that he said was “more than winning a basketball game,” and with the right mindset, “you can pretty much overcome anything.”
he said he doesn’t have much more to prove after back-to-back Gold medals, but he said he won’t retire. He’s just taking a step back to start a job with Visa to work on its Olympic and Paralympic programs.