Kat Matthews admits ‘I don’t understand how I didn’t die’ after horror accident

In the third episode of the PTO Documentary “Crushed: The Kat Matthews story,” Matthews ponders how she didn’t die at the scene of the road traffic accident in Texas last September. The positivity in this episode sheds light on a remarkable return that took her to the podium at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside

It could have been so different

In a powerful sequence, Matthews ponders: “I don’t understand how I don’t have a brain injury. I don’t understand how my neck didn’t break, and I don’t understand how I didn’t die at the scene, because of the amount of trauma, the amount of force, it doesn’t make any sense to me.”

When she’d rather be concerned with whether she’s pushed too hard in training, Matthews is still worried about ongoing pain: “I wonder if I will I ever wake up again and my back doesn’t hurt… will I ever just have a healthy back again. Nobody really knows.”

Lesser accidents kill people

Maureen Gibbons, an Emergency Trained Physician speaks about the night Matthews was admitted to hospital. “I’ve seen lesser accidents kill people and I’ve seen worse incidents not. It could have been a very different day for everybody.”

Gibbons highlights some of the challenges ahead: “It can take up to a year for the tissues to remodel. Because she’s going to train so hard anyway, she’s going to have issues… she’ll be stronger for it, I bet.”

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Potential to rival the greats

Having also been hit by a car leading into Kona in 2017, Tim Don gives his take on Matthew’s return. The former IRONMAN world record holder said: “The beauty with Kat is that she’s young enough. The worst thing she can do is too much, too soon.”

“She wants to be remembered as someone who has podiumed at Kona. She’s got to believe that can still happen. She could win Kona five times.”



Husband Mark Matthews reveals that she may never fully recover but explains how his own career choice to leave the Army will help provide a foundation, a stable base in Loughborough instead of being ‘on the hoof’. He says: “With me leaving the Army I think this is the first year she’s been able to train how she should be training.”

“She’s so resilient. If she had to finish an ironman tomorrow, she’d do it sub 9.”

She’s also attracted new sponsors, including Canyon, who explain their drive to work with ‘people who are successful’. Something Kat Matthews has gained yet more confidence from: “They know what I’ve been through and they’re still backing me to win.”

Good enough to win again

If self believe is a foundation for success, you will be hard pressed not to believe that Kat Matthews will be back on top of the podium very soon. “I don’t think it really crossed my mind that I wouldn’t get back to pro triathlon.

“I felt like I was good enough to win last year and I didn’t get the chance to show it and now I want to be good enough to win again.”

Helen Gorman
Written by
Helen Gorman
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