Student Throws “Hail Mary” Pass in Game of Life

Rowan football player calls the game for a cure

It was the final game of the season and Matt Hoffman made a Hail Mary pass. But it wasn’t on the field.

The Rowan University defensive end sat out Saturday’s game against one of his team’s biggest rivals--not because he was sick, but because he was given the chance to make someone well.

Hoffman proved to be a bone marrow match for someone in need and the college junior did not hesitate to put football on the sidelines to help a person he has never met.

“It doesn't make a difference if they're a stranger or my twin brother. Saving somebody, a life is very important,” said Hoffman.

Knowing that more than 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases like leukemia or lymphoma, and their best chance of survival is the rare stranger who is a bone marrow match, Hoffman’s head coach, Jay Accorsi, organized a bone marrow drive at the college last spring.

More than 300 students added their names to the National Bone Marrow Registry during the drive, and Hoffman was a match for transplantation.

“If you had to pick a couple guys on the team, he's one of the ones that would try to extend themselves to try and save somebody,” said Accorsi.

Hoffman said that many of his teammates were shocked that he would miss the last game of the season in order to donate his bone marrow.

“I couldn’t imagine if I was on the other side and someone had a chance to be able to save me and they said, ‘I have a football game’,” said Hoffman. “There are bigger things in life than the game and I chose not to play.”

Hoffman wants to one day meet the man who receives his bone marrow, hoping he will be healthy and happy.

“As a coach you try to preach to your players: Do the right thing, make the right choice, see the bigger picture,” said Accorsi. “It's good to see it does come true to life.”

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