ROCKSPRINGS — An educational Concussion Awareness event was held Sunday at Meigs High School in remembereance of former MHS athlete Matt Ault.
Ault was a three-sport Meigs High School athlete who passed away 20 years ago this week after a football game in Waverly due to a head injury.
The event was presented by Dr. Kelly Roush, director of Holzer Sports Medicine, with speakers including former Meigs coach Mike Chancey (now at Southern) and Ault’s friend and cousin Chad Dodson.
Chancey gave the opening remarks, talking about the type of kid Matt was. He said in the offseason of his junior year, Matt never missed weight training or practice, telling Chancey and former Meigs assistant coach Pete Woods, “I will start at safety.” Chancey said that Matt worked as hard as anyone.
The Marauders lost their first game of the season at Gallipolis, then went on a winning streak. Losing only the game after Matt’s tragedy. “Matt was everything you wanted”, Chancey said. “He was a tough worker, dependable and a great young man.”
The Marauders regrouped after the loss at Vinton County and ended up dedicating the season to Matt and winning the TVC championship.
An emotional Chancey went on to say, “Although losing Matt was tough, knowing him made me better. If I could say one thing to Matt it would be thanks.”
On display at the foot of the podium was a framed number 32 jersey. Ault’s number 32 has been retired at Meigs High School.
Roush then spoke. She introduced several of Matt’s family members in attendance, including Matt’s mother, Carol, stepfather Chris Shank, his younger brother Ty, wife Ashley and their daughters.
Roush also introduced Molly Peters, who is alive because of Matt. She received Matt’s liver after his death.
Dr. Roush then explained to the crowd what a concussion is and how it can be prevented. She then went over the symptoms of a concussion and the new technology that has been introduced since the tragedy 20 years ago. Dr. Roush went on to say, “If you think you have a concussion, don’t hide it, tell someone. Get it checked out and take time to recover.”
The last person that spoke was Matt’s longtime best friend and cousin, Chad Dodson, who pointed out a junior high scheduling problem that left him unable to stay in band. Dodson said it was Matt who knew Chad’s love in music that pushed him to get the problem fixed and get back into the band. Besides being a minister, Chad is also the band director at Southern Local.
“Matt always was encouraging others. His passing also saved a life and changed other people’s lives for the good.”
Before closing with a prayer, Dodson said, “He isn’t really gone in my heart and yours, but he continues to live.”
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