Norfolk County “Wears Blue For Brownie”

Sabrina Dorronsoro

As the morning carpools pulled up, and the first buses arrived at schools all across Norfolk County, kids were sporting unusual apparel. An overwhelming amount of students were sporting Norwood High School’s  colors – Yellow, Blue, and White – with bold 3’s written across their hands.  All this was for one kid: Norwood sophomore Matt Brown.

Matt Brown – nicknamed “Brownie” – was a hockey player for the Norwood Mustang’s and on January 23 during a game against Weymouth his hockey career took a turn for the worse. In what Coach Bill Clifford describes as a “freak accident” sophomore Brownie was behind the net and as he went for the puck a number of players bumped into him. Once he lost his balance, he hit his head on the plexiglass. Brownie was transported by ambulance to South Shore Hospital with no feeling in his legs and was later moved to Children’s Hospital where it was decided that he suffered from a broken neck.

In a heartwarming flood of support Facebook has been bombarded with groups dedicated to prayers for Matt and his family. The most popular of these groups  “Pray For Matt Brown # 3” (with a staggering 21,509 fans and counting) consists of comments of support and love and daily progress reports on Brownie’s condition by his mother and other family members. In addition to this group, Matt’s younger sister Kelley set up the Facebook event – “Wear Blue For Brownie.” The event was scheduled for January 26 and 27 – the set dates for Brownie’s surgery – and kids from schools such as Norwood High, Walpole High, Xaverian, Noble’s Country Day as well as many adults participated. On January 26, students and adults alike were asked to do just as the title said – wear blue for Brownie, while on January 27,  Kelley inboxed all event members to write a # 3 on his or her hand to show support for her brother.

Matt’s very own Facebook page is full of messages of support and well-wishes from all his very concerned friends, making it evident that Matt is loved by everyone. The Walpole Express Team all attended Matt’s prayer service at St. Catherine’s Church on Tuesday January 26 alongside hundreds of Matt’s friends and family.   In addition, the Weymouth Wildcat’s hockey team have all put the number 3 on the sides of their helmets to show their continued support.

On Wednesday January 27 Matt went into surgery to stabilize his neck and on his Facebook support page Matt’s mother reported “that he came through great . . . Allowing Matt to start his long rehabilitation journey.” However, that same night the Norwood High School hockey team faced another serious injury to a teammate. In a game against Milton, senior defenseman Chris O’Brien crashed head-first into the boards and laid motionless on the ice when an emergency crew rushed onto the ice and transported him to Children’s Hospital – the same hospital where teammate Matt is being treated. O’Brien suffered a serious concussion and was hospitalized for six days and was later sent home on February 2nd.  O’Brien is reported to be doing well and with Brownie out of surgery he is now on the road to recovery.

Both Matt Brown and Chris O’Brien are supported by a community that extends outside of Norwood.  This local tragedy renewed a sense of community by reminding everyone that support and love are not just more important than sports rivalries, they are the most vital medicines in the road to recovery.