Matt Of All [hockey] Trades. From Playing To Umpiring, Thanks To A Terrible Accident

When Year 11 hockey player Matty Rush explains what happened in February 2016 to his left knee it instinctively makes you want to stand on one leg and clutch your own kneecap safe in the knowledge that everything is where it should be. During a hockey festival for his club, Rugby and East Midlands, the talented Midlands level player collided with a member of the opposing team and, to put it plainly –body and knee detached themselves from one another. Diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament this potentially spelt disaster for sports mad Matt. Along with surgery he was given an eight-month ban from all sport.

Rush became a familiar sight around the College campus bravely mobile on his crutches. Undeterred and reflecting his characteristic sportsmanship he considered his options: become morose and grumpy or get on with something meaningful that would keep him in the sport he loved. And that’s just what he did. Before his accident Matty was in the throes of taking a Level 1 Hockey Umpire Assessment. The requirements involved attending a course and co-umpiring ten matches under supervision before the final ‘live game’ assessment and theory test.

Quickly his recuperation time became an opportunity to gain Level 1 umpire status, which he passed, no problem. Now back on his feet (both of them) and eager to return to match play; hopefully next week, Matt is optimistic about his hockey future.

“Umpiring has changed the way I see the game. I can see it from both sides which means I have a better perspective when an umpire makes a decision.” When asked if he thinks he’s a fair umpire he goes on, “Yes. I’m serious, but not too serious. I’m definitely fair. In my first game I had to give a green card to a team mate. Those are the rules. By sticking to them it makes the game better for everyone. Everyone has had experience of poor umpiring and I never want to be like that.”

Able now to umpire up to County level games Matt is in every sense what you would expect as an ambassador for the sport. We wish him well with his return to match play later this month.