HIGH POINT, N.C. – Trey Matthews of Southern Wesleyan University has been named the 2018 Conference Carolinas Comeback Athlete of the Year. Matthews, a redshirt sophomore from Plant City, Fla., is the first winner from Southern Wesleyan.
In its fifth year, the Comeback Athlete of the Year recognizes a Conference Carolinas student-athlete who participates in a conference-sponsored sport that has suffered a significant injury and comes back to make significant contributions to their team after recovering. Nominees were selected and then voted on by the head athletic trainers of Conference Carolinas’ 11 member institutions.
Matthews came to SWU as a freshman in August of 2015, after just having ACL surgery in July of 2015. Rehabbing all fall, he was cleared to play in January of 2016. Three weeks into the 2016 season, Matthews was covering home plate during a game when a base runner collided with his knee. He would continue to play for a couple innings until the pain was unbearable. Having only played four games during the season, an MRI revealed a lateral meniscus tear, which prompted another surgery in May of 2016.
After rehabbing all summer, Matthews was cleared in August of 2016. During an early fall practice in September 2016, Matthews would feel a sharp pain in his knee after making a routine catcher’s squat and underwent another MRI. The MRI would reveal another meniscus tear and the doctors would find out important information regarding his knee troubles.
It was determined his original ACL graft from 2015 was not performed correctly, and was contributing to his recurring meniscus injuries. The SWU team physicians recommended an ACL revision surgery with meniscal repair, and Matthews would opt to have the revision.
Matthews was officially cleared in August of 2017, and was the primary catcher for the Warriors during the 2018 season. After only appearing in four games in two seasons, Matthews played in 40 of SWU’s 49 games in 2018, posting a .336 batting average with 46 hits, 31 runs, 19 RBI, eight doubles and seven home runs.
Comeback Athlete of the Year Winners
2018: Trey Matthews, Southern Wesleyan
2016: Avery Wallis, Lees-McRae
2015: Nolan Albrecht, Belmont Abbey
2014: Amber Weaver, Barton
Conference Carolinas is a NCAA Division II athletics conference made up of 11 teams from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. These institutions consist of: Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Converse College, Emmanuel College, Erskine College, King University, Lees-McRae College, Limestone College, University of Mount Olive, North Greenville University, and Southern Wesleyan University.