Athlete of the Week: Matt Hass, Wausau West - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

Athlete of the Week: Matt Hass, Wausau West

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Like many high school freshmen boys, Matt Hass loves sports. So it wasn't a surprise when he wanted to become an athlete at Wausau West.

He just kind of grew up with sports and liked it,” said Hass' father, Todd Hass. “It was just kind of a natural extension for him to want to play sports.”

I just thought that other people can play sports,” Matt Hass said. “So I thought I'd try playing sports.”

Still, there's one thing that sets Hass apart from other athletes. He was born with spina bifida, a spinal disorder that has paralyzed him from the waist down.

So, whatever sport he plays, he does it in a wheelchair.

Hass plays hockey and in high school he has done curling and now track. And last week, he became the first wheelchair track athlete to compete in the history of the Wisconsin Valley Conference.

It's a very big deal,” Hass' coach at Wausau West Jason Sinz told Newsline 9. “With a conference that has some of the statewide prestige that the Valley Conference has, Matt being the first of his type, a sprint athlete in a chair, it's been a big deal for everyone.”

But Hass isn't satisfied with just being the first. He wants to be the fastest.

I just keep telling myself, and keep pushing myself, that I need to work harder and do more to try to get faster,” Hass said.

And it's not his wheelchair that stands out in a crowd. Sinz said it's his determination.

He's willing to put up with the hard work, the discipline, the rigor that our practices require of him,” Sinz said. “He wants to be trained just like everyone else.”

While Hass has certainly provided inspiration to his coaches and teammates, his deepest impact is on those closest to him. Those who have been there through it all.

I'm just so proud of him with all of the things he goes through and all of the things he has to do,” Todd Hass said. “He wants to go to practice every day.

I'm so proud of him, he's my hero,” Hass' father said.
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