Updated: Friday, 21 Oct 2011, 11:21 AM EDT
Published : Friday, 14 Oct 2011, 11:51 PM EDT
ROCKVILLE, Ind. (WTHI) - One week ago marked the 10-year anniversary of the United States going to war in Afghanistan.
For former Rockville athlete Matt Kinsey, this has a lot of meaning.
"[I] always wanted to join, serve my country and fight in war,” said Kinsey. “Do my part."
Kinsey joined the Army's 82nd Airborne Unit in 2006. He knew the risk involved, but never thought twice about serving his country.
Ten months into his second deployment in Afghanistan, everything changed.
On June 2, 2010, Kinsey was leading his platoon on a combat mission when he stepped on a landmine.
"A lot of things go through your mind, whether you are going to live or die," he said.
He needed two full blood transfusions and his injuries were so severe, doctors at Walter Reed Hospital couldn't save his right foot.
"[I] went to surgery, woke up next morning…realized before my foot was gone. So I woke up next morning after surgery, look down make sure everything is good. Saw bandages and hoses, everything coming out of me," said Kinsey.
"I wasn't prepared to see that,” said Matt’s father Mark Kinsey. “He was all hooked up to all the monitors, but at same time you run to the bed and give your kid a big hug. [I was] really happy to see him."
Despite the injuries, Matt refused to stop living life. After 10 surgeries, he got a prosthetic foot and was walking on it 90 days later.
"I remember he took two steps and broke it. His prosthetic guy turned around and said ‘I'll fix it.’ When he brought it back, Matt put it on and just took off down the hallway. Said, ‘See you,’ and mom and dad were bawling," said Mark.
Upset that he couldn't finish his deployment, Matt decided to follow through on a promise he made with his dad.
"We made a pact before he went over the first time that we would coach together. He's always had an interest in coaching," said Mark.
After his injury, Matt got the chance to come back and coach football at Rockville High School. He said it was a tremendous honor but he would only do it on one condition."
"I promised coach King and my dad I was going to walk on the football field again. I promised the team as well. Told them I was not coming home on crutches or with a wheelchair. I will walk on the football field again," said Matt.
These days, Matt and Mark spend a lot of time together as assistant coaches for the Rox program.
"He has a gift, might not realize it yet but he has an unbelievable gift of the game and ways to build camaraderie with players. He knows how to get the most out of them," said Mark.
Despite being a star quarterback in 2002, Matt says he has found his true calling on the sidelines.
“I grew up watching Rockville football on the field. Dreamed of eventually playing here and got the opportunity to. Then have been blessed to be able to comeback and coach here. Love every moment of it,” said Matt.
Matt's dream, which he is pursing, is to be a Division I college football head coach.
Tuesday, we will have part two where we will show you how this incredible young man has been able to continue with his athletic career as an amputee.
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