Scott Matzka enjoyed a professional hockey career of over 10 seasons, beginning in the ECHL with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2001-02. Matzka had a breakout rookie campaign, scoring 52 points (17g-35a) in 63 games before an even better season in 2002-03. He recorded 51 points (20g-31a) in just 45 games with the Boardwalk Bullies while also appearing in 14 games with the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Barons. He scored five goals and added an assist in 19 games during the 2003 Kelly Cup Playoffs, helping to lead Atlantic City to the Kelly Cup title. After spending a decade playing overseas, Matzka wrapped up his professional career by playing in one game with the Kalamazoo Wings during the 2012-13 season.
Scott Matzka’s entire life has been a continuing ice hockey success story. Throughout his career, he has excelled as a highly decorated player, coach and mentor.
In 2012, Scott left professional hockey and entered the business world, working first for Maestro, a software developer in Kalamazoo, and later the Phoenix Group, industrial consultants in Springboro, Ohio.
As a professional athlete, Scott has spent a lifetime paying close attention to his body and the signals it sends him. So he took notice in the summer of 2014 when he began to experience stiffening in his fingers, cramping and eventually muscle twitches and tremors. What followed was a seemingly endless string of consultations and tests – MRIs of the brain and spine, electromyography (EMG) and neuroconductivity evaluations.
After a referral to the University of Michigan and further tests, doctors diagnosed Scott with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. Unable to function, the muscles gradually weaken and waste away (atrophy). Eventually, the ability of the brain to start and control voluntary movement is lost. The cause of ALS is unknown and there is no cure.
Scott believes most of us go through life never knowing our purpose. He believes ALS has revealed his. He wants to be an advocate: Telling his story as a means of helping his family, bringing ALS out of obscurity and assisting other affected by the condition.
For more information on how to help Scott and his family as they fight this disease, visit his website at www.scottmatzka.com.