Matt Cooper Golf Classic Benefits 5-Year-Old with Cerebral Palsy

Matt Cooper | Photo courtesy of Ken Cooper
Matt Cooper | Photo courtesy of Ken Cooper

ST. GEORGE – On Sept. 16, Sunbrook Golf Course will play host to the 3rd annual Matt Cooper Golf Classic. Individual golfers and teams will have the opportunity to play an 18-hole round of golf, as well as help raise money for a cause benefitting the tournament’s namesake.

Like other boys his age, 5-year-old Matt Cooper loves to play and spend time with his siblings, whether it involves wrestling with his brother Ben, or making cookies with his sister Kenedi. He also loves a variety of sports.

Where young Matt differs from the typical 5-year-old, however, is that he has cerebral palsy, a disorder which affects the brain’s ability to adequately control physical posture and movement.

Doctors determined that Matt had developed cerebral palsy due to complications arising from a traumatic birth; but knowing exactly how it would affect the child would not be wholly apparent until Matt was a few years older.

As it turned out, Matt’s cognitive skills were unaffected, leaving him able to learn and comprehend the world around him as any child his age would be able to.

“Matt understands all that’s told him,” Ken Cooper, Matt’s father said.

However, Matt’s ability to walk and speak was severely impaired. Thanks to intense physical therapy sessions at the Now I Can Foundation in Provo, significant improvement has been made in the realms of speech and mobility.

“Since that first session at Now I Can … Matt has had the opportunity to do five more sessions, making it a total of six sessions. Each session requires him to work five days a week, four hours a day,” Cooper said. “Even though Matt is exhausted at the end of each day, he will answer “yes” when the therapy team asks him if he will be coming back the next day.”

Cooper said the therapists at the Now I Can Foundation are confident that his son will be able to walk; it’s simply a matter of time and effort.

As additional sessions are required in order for Matt to reach his full potential, so are additional funds to help finance the endeavor. Insurance will not cover the cost.

So, in order to help Matt’s continued enrollment in the Now I Can sessions, the Matt Cooper Golf Classis was devised.

“It looks like it will be the biggest [tournament] yet,” said Cooper.

Cooper said between 18 to 20 teams of golfers – four persons make up one team – have signed up for the tournament. The first year’s tournament contained up to 10 teams, and has been growing with each successive year.

“We’re very appreciative of the community in supporting this cause,” he said.

There are even plans to make the Matt Cooper Golf Classic a recurring event. Ultimately, it is planned that donations made at the event will go to the Now I Can Foundation as cost associated with Matt’s own therapy declines.

The tournament will be held at Sunbrook Golf Course at 8 a.m. Sept. 16. Entry fees are $79 per individual and $316 per a team of four.

For more information, visit Matt Cooper Gold Classic and Now I Can Foundation.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • wes vaughn August 17, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Matt is an awesome kid.

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