Duke the German Shepherd
President of Dogs Against Flea Collars Committee (DAFCC)
Last Tuesday, March 16, Washington College Head Athletic Trainer Matt An suffered several massive injuries in a skydiving accident.
An went skydiving with a few friends in the athletic department. Skydiving was on the top of An’s bucket list, and the event was a dream come true, until there was an equipment malfunction.
When An reached the point of elevation to deploy his parachute, his backpack wouldn’t open. His WC t-shirt jammed the zipper, making the backpack impossible to open.
An spun out of control, heading towards a group of trees nearby the launchsite. He bounced down and hit each tree branch, ricocheting from branch to branch.
“He looked like he was in a pinball machine, bouncing from tree to tree,” WC junior volleyball player and eyewitness Jenna Daunorus said.
An survived the fall, but he did sustain serious injuries though.
According to doctors, An dislocated both of his hips, fractured his right leg in six different places, and four places in his left leg. Both of his collar bones were shattered on impact and both arms broke in three separate places. He also broke all of his ribs and lower jaw, making him unable to speak.
Other than those injuries, he is completely fine and healthy.
An made a swift return to work three days later in a full body cast, head brace, and motorized scooter. WC students and the athletic department are very excited to welcome him back to work.
To complete his rehabilitation and make a full recovery, An is receiving help from the very best: himself. In between appointments with student-athletes, An provides himself treatment.
He slowly unwraps and rewraps his bandages three times a day. This takes about two and half hours to complete, leaving him only enough time for the students-athletes.
According to the WC athletic department, wait times of the training room might be a little longer than normal due to An’s lack of mobility.
He only has three fully functioning fingers, and visibility in his left eye, which makes it a bit tricky to see to student-athletes’ needs, but his positive attitude makes up for it.
Also, since An’s injury did leave him without the ability to speak fluently, he will be typing out and printing all treatment instructions.
When An initially returned to campus, his first message typed to the student-athletes was “My leg,” in reference to the running joke on the Nickelodeon cartoon, Spongebob Squarepants.
If student-athletes have time, drop in and say “hi”, but remember although he won’t be able to respond, he will be smiling on the inside.