It’s hard to define a true ironman athlete, but perseverance is definitely one of the criteria.
After making a catch late in the fourth quarter with his team down four points, Matthews was slammed to the turf by Ole Miss free safety Cody Prewitt. As his body hit the ground, Matthews’ head snapped back and smacked against the grass in concussion-inducing fashion. When trying to get back to his feet, vomit spewed from his mouth as the commentators all came to the conclusion that he was done for the night.
That, however, didn’t appear to be the case. Not only did Matthews return one play later, but ended up hauling in another pass before the night was over.
The initial thought is: what a stupid move by Vanderbilt.
For decades, the general consensus has been that inserting a concussed player back into the game before performing a battery of tests is forbidden. One more brain-rattling hit could have life-altering effects, or worse. According to Matthews, though, a concussion wasn’t the reason for him making a mess on the field.
“Early on in the third quarter I started experiencing cramps,” Matthews said. “First in my legs, then it got up to my back and my arms so it was close to a full-body cramp. I had a lot of fluids in my stomach from rehydrating and everything, so I probably regurgitated a lot of that and threw up a little bit. But I was able to stay in the game.”
It seems a little coincidental that shortly after his head crashed into the turf, Matthews was projectile vomiting. Still, despite the blatant disregard for protocol, you have to admire his perseverance and unrelenting drive to help his team win.
Matthews finished the night with 10 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown, including an impressive grab on fourth and 18 following the incident to keep Vanderbilt’s drive alive. Although the final pass ended up careening off his hands and into the arms of Prewitt, his heroics definitely grabbed the nation’s attention – and threw Vanderbilt’s training staff under the bus.
NFL scouts will love the tenacity, but next time, Matthews should probably take a seat after leaving his guts out on the field.