Captain Matt Anderson retired from the United States Army in 2014. He sustained injuries serving in the Arghandab River Valley of the Kandahar Province in Afghanistan. On October 16, 2010 during a night time combat patrol, Anderson’s right foot and lower leg were shattered by an anti-personnel landmine while clearing a Taliban controlled compound. If the 45 pounds of bulk ammonium nitrate attached to the land mine detonated, he would not be here today. Anderson’s right foot and lower leg were practically shattered by the landmine. He endured 24 surgeries and procedures to salvage his leg and two years of physical therapy.
Aside from the physical injuries, Anderson’s biggest hurdle was the mental battle he was going through. The fact that he wasn’t in Afghanistan with his men, doing what he was trained to do, made him angry and depressed. This fueled Anderson’s desire to rehabilitate as quickly as he could and work hard in PT to get back to the fight.
During rehabilitation in 2011, Anderson was asked to serve on the Peer Reviewed Orthopedic Research Program (PRORP) as an advocate for current and future wounded service members. PRORP focuses on improving the outcomes of blast and battlefield trauma by investing Congressional funding into cutting edge research in nerve regeneration, novel prosthetics, prevention of heterotopic ossification, joint surface repair, and improved physical therapy among many others. Anderson continues to serve on this board today and has truly enjoyed being a part of PRORP. It allows him to stay on top of all of the medical advancements and work to improve the standard of living for our warfighters after traumatic injury.
Anderson first played in the Bush Center Warrior Open in 2012. It has been an honor and privilege to play and caddy each year he’s participated. The competitive nature of the event will always be present, but the bonds formed between the warfighters are unquestionable and lasting. Golf has become his favorite outlet. It is Anderson’s version of mental and physical therapy as well as a means to get outside with friends, family, and even by himself.
He is also involved with the Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA.org). This has allowed him to volunteer, mentor, and bring (sometimes dragging) other warriors into the game of golf. In August of 2016, he was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the SMGA, assisting and promoting the nation’s wounded warriors to get into and learn the game of golf.
The camaraderie between Team 43 alumni is very open and easy. In many cases it provides added purpose, a new mission, and support during the transition from military to civilian life. As Alumni, we have been challenged to promote civility, develop leaders, and make a positive impact within our communities. Challenge accepted.