SYSK: Student is back to playing football after losing leg - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Student is back to playing football after losing leg


"I was itching to get back. Nothing was going to stop me from playing again," said Matt Riniker.

Western Dubuque sophomore Matt Riniker is happy to be back making tackles. He may have lost a leg, but he hasn't lost his love of this game.

"Two years ago, September 2nd I was doing chores. I got in a four-wheel accident because I hit this bump, and I rolled over. Broke my leg, and I had a lot of tissue damage," said Riniker.

After breaking his leg, Matt said it never healed properly. He underwent several surgeries and even got four infections.

"They said I had a couple of choices to try to keep healing it or amputate it, and I was just getting tired of standing around watching the game and not being able to do anything, so I went with the amputation because there was more pros to that than cons," said Riniker.

The accident and below the knee amputation left him on the football sidelines.

"Even though he wasn't here, he was still with us," said teammate Brennan Koerperich.

The desire to play football and be with his friends again motivated Matt to get back in shape. In fact, he was running just three months after his amputation surgery.

"He's very determined to play football. He wants to be part of our family, and he's been outstanding," said sophomore football coach Tom Jasper.

The fullback and middle linebacker said there isn't much change in playing football with one leg, he just can't jump as high, and he must wear a protective cover during games for the safety of other players.

"Very impressive. He's come a long ways. He's a good football player," said sophomore Brennan Koerperich.

Riniker said he wouldn't be back on the field without support from his teammates.

"Good friends. I love them like family," he said.

And he's made an impact on the team as well.

"He's a team captain. He motivates us a lot," said Koerperich.

"He comes to practice, works as hard as everybody else. He does a great job of being a leader for our team," said Coach Jasper.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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