What is the one thing that many of us complain about besides the government? Many times it is the fact that big corporations just don't give back to the communities they sell their products to. I know I have done that many times. In the case of Matthew Newman, our injured friend from Washington State, Nike got it right. Really right!
Now any big organization is made up of hundreds and thousands of individuals. That certainly applies to the Government and Corporations too. Sometimes individual actions within those massive bureaucracies allow the organizations heart and underlying principles to shine through.
When Nike Trainer and football coach Matt James saw the Raise 7 for Matthew Videos he was moved to action. He shared the story of the critically injured Quarterback from Highland High School in Cowiche, Washington with some co-workers. The videos tell it all. Matthew doing what he loved went down on the field of battle.
His injury was the almost always fatal Second Impact Syndrome; a second concussion on top of a concussion suffered at a previous practice that went undetected. The second blow causes the blood flow to the head to flow at an uncontrollable pace. The result is critical injury and surgery that is dramatic and life threatening.
Enter top Nike designers Aaron Cooper and Brian Mitchell. After seeing Matthew's story the decided to do something that has rarely been done. They made him his own shoes! Taking Matthew's story, his team colors and logos, his love for Washington State, and a Raise 7 Image posted to his Facebook Site they created a story Board. A few days later they produced a demo of the shoe we call "The Seven".
After many many weeks of waiting for the shoe to be produced we were able to deliver Matthew the demo shoe when we visited him recently in Yakima. The picture album shows the reaction which was incredible! These three guys could have done almost anything but this. It would have been easier to send some other products (which Matt did also) but realizing his plight they did the one thing that any 17 year old trying to come back from the edge would love. Made him his very own shoe.
We call them "The Seven". 8 pairs were made. They are not for sale so don't ask.
And so as Matthew had a new Titanium skull plate placed into his head this past weekend there he was. In recovery he insisted on wearing his shoes. The shoes that one of the worlds largest corporations through these special employees had made possible. The shoes that allowed us to see inside the beating heart of a corporation that has been oft criticized but rarely complimented by some.
Matthew asked that we delivered this message to Nike. To Matt, Aaron, and Brian. To Nike. To you all "Thank you... you will never know what this means to me".
These are tough times. You think you have it bad? Well count your blessings. It is unlikely you have endured 30 weeks of surgery, therapy, and pain. It is unlikely your life itself has been changed forever. To you and to all of us... Matthew sends this one simple message.
"L I F E . . . J U S T D O I T ! "
Join Matthew and all of us as we work to prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries and concussions in sports through our efforts at "Team 7:15". Join Us!