Diagnosed with heart disease in 1996, Matt Troha, or Coach Matt, never let himself be slowed down.
He is the head coach of the Kenosha Hawks 12U and a heart transplant recipient.
“I promised them last summer during tryouts and last fall when we started that I was going to be their coach. I might be out for a while, but I’ll be back, and that’s my duty to get you better at the game,” says coach Matt. “I was on medication and finally had electrical issues in early 2000. So I had 14 cardioversions and two roblations to get me dig the heart. I’m a day lawyer for a large transportation company. Then I coach basketball and softball at night, 10-11 months a year.”
In August 2021, doctors informed coach Matt that he would need a heart transplant to continue.
“I had 40 per cent scar tissue in my heart. So only 60 per cent of my heart was working and the blood wasn’t getting to where it needed to be,” coach Matt explains.
Luckily for the Kenosha Hawks coach, a new heart arrived within three months of being put on the waitlist. With only two hours to get to the hospital once notified, Coach Matt was more worried about his athletes and training that evening.
“Honestly, the kind of guy I am, who’s going to coach this softball team? Who’s going to coach my basketball team? My wife wouldn’t like to hear that, and neither would my parents. what’s going to happen to these kids, who’s going to coach them,” says coach Matt.
Finding replacements like Coach Bradley was the easy part.
“You just hope and pray for the best, obviously for the future. The team was secondary, I knew I would be able to handle this. We were much more concerned about him and coach Matt going through this” said Matt Bradley, Indian Trail Academy softball coach and Kenosha Hawks 12U coach.
If you were to ask Coach Matt’s family and friends, so was the transplant.
“Once I FaceTimed him, he was just talking about softball. Did you go to practice last night, how was the pitching,” coach daughter Natalia ‘Peach’ Troha said Matt and Kenosha Hawks pitcher.
The hardest part was getting the others to let the coach back on the pitch.
“A little over three months after the fact that I had the heart transplant that I recovered from the field. Matt said, do you want me to come with you? I said, no, I want them surprise, so I surprised them one night,” says coach Matt.
“Yeah, Coach Bradley is a great person, but I missed my dad as a coach and I think all the girls missed him,” Peach said.
“He’s here to do what he loves and what he’s passionate about, so it’s the best thing for me to see him with the kids,” Coach Bradley said.
Now, nothing can stop Coach Matt from giving all of his teams and all of his players, especially not even a broken heart.
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