December 18, 2018
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan Program for Neurology Research & Discovery and the ALS Center of Excellence were saddened to learn about the passing of Scott Matzka following his fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Matzka, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2014, was treated by the physicians, nurses, specialists and researchers from the U-M Multidisciplinary ALS Clinic throughout his disease progression. Always resolute in his battle, he did everything in his power to help others with ALS by being an advocate for public awareness and understanding of the disease.
“Scott’s steadfast courage facing ALS will endure as an inspiration to all of the clinicians and researchers at the University of Michigan ALS Center of Excellence. Scott, his wife Catie, and his entire family have made an indelible impact on the community by raising awareness about ALS. Scott will be dearly missed,” said Eva L. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., director of PNR&D and the ALS Center of Excellence.
Matzka played four seasons (1998-2001) for the University of Michigan hockey team, helping the Wolverines capture the national championship in 1998. He graduated in 2001 with a B.S. in computer science. Matzka went on to have a 12-year professional career in North America and Europe.
Following his ALS diagnosis, Matzka made it his mission to raise awareness for ALS with his “My Turn” foundation. In the fall of 2016, Matzka, the U-M hockey team, and the U-M ALS Center of Excellence teamed up to create the inaugural ALS Awareness Game. The first game was held October 8, 2016, with subsequent events were held February 23, 2018, and October 26, 2018. The games were an opportunity to draw attention to the critical need to find better treatments for those suffering from ALS.
“To me, it’s very important because you never know who is in the stands — a donor to help the cause, a student who might go into neurology to help cure ALS, or someone who can relate to that is inspired by the message,” said Matzka in the fall of 2018. “It is always hard to judge because awareness can’t really be measured. My Turn is an awareness campaign. We’ve raised money for several organizations and partnered with the Susan Mast ALS Foundation (in Grand Rapids, Michigan) to start the My Turn Project Fund to help others with ALS in western Michigan with construction projects. In my mind, we’ve been very successful educating and informing people about ALS and raised significant funds to help with my care.”
The 40-year-old Matzka is survived by wife Catie, daughter Reese (9) and son Owen (6).
Matzka remembered as ‘true champion’ (Port Huron Times Herald)
U-M Hockey, ALS Center of Excellence continue fight against ALS (PNRDFeldman.org)
Matzka battling ALS with championship teammates in his corner (MGoBlue.com)
Matzka Says ‘my turn’ to raise awareness, pay it forward (Michigan Medicine)