Vermont native Matt Leonard awarded Empowerment Grant to provide Leonard with $1,320 towards alternative therapies to aid in recovery from a life-altering injury
The High Fives Foundation‘s Empowerment program service disburses board-approved grants to mountain action sports athletes who are recovering from a life-altering injury. In March, the Foundation’s Board of Directors Grant Selection Committee approved a grant for Matt Leonard totaling $1,320 to be used for massage and acupuncture at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo. where he is recovering from a spinal cord injury that occurred during a ski accident this year in California. Matt was raised in Middlebury, VT. He attended Middlebury College.
Matt was doing a warm up run at Alpine Meadows Resort in California under the Summit Chairlift. It was his second run when his ski edge caught a clump of soft snow moving him into some ice. He hit a mogul and lost one of skis which sent him into a tower of the Summit Chair.
When he arrived to Renown Medical Center in Reno, Nev., Leonard found that he had compressed his spine 90%, shattered his T5/T6 vertebra, and had a 45-degree kink in his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. At this point, an Advisory Board member of the High Fives Foundation reached out to Executive Director Roy Tuscany to help Matt in his recovery. Soon after, his grant was approved and his road to recovery began. Services like massage and acupuncture are necessary in promoting blood flow and prepares the body for the next workout in the process of recovery.