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Boston College basketball team manager, Matt Malley, refuses to let anything hold him back from his dream

After a childhood stroke, Norwood's Matt Malley, uses his love of sports to manage BC's basketball t
After a childhood stroke, Norwood's Matt Malley, uses love of sports to manage BC basketball team 03:47

CHESTNUT HILL - Matt Malley is a senior at Boston College, where he is also the head manager of the men's basketball team.

Matt has a disability. Shortly after his birth, Matt suffered a stroke, which gave him limited use of his right hand.

"Stroke I've realized is kind of a big word for people. People are often very surprised, I think the reason behind it is it's that you don't hear about it a lot in young people," Matt said.

The college senior from Norwood also understands that some people may be uncomfortable with his disability.

"There's this theory out there that you form an opinion about somebody within seven seconds of meeting them, just a psychological theory. You meet the person, how you doing? Now, for me, think of a stereotypical icebreaker. 'Hey, how you doing? You shake hands. Well, it's my right hand is the side that's affected, so immediately it can be, it's not always, but it can be kind of an awkward exchange," Matt explained.

"What I try to really do with meeting other people and then people with me is, try to learn more about the person, like who are they? What's important to the person? Try to get to know them on a more personal level because we're more than seven seconds, everyone's story, every story that you encounter, their story is longer than 7 seconds," Matt said.

Matt grew up as a die-hard Boston sports fan. He loved watching sports, but more importantly, he loved playing them. His mom, Lucy, and dad, Kevin, said that he never let his disability deter him from doing what he loves.

"Baseball was probably my favorite sport from a young age. I kinda threw like Jim Abbott. So if anyone's ever seen Jim Abbott, you catch the ball with one hand, you put the ball in the glove in your arm, lift the ball, and throw it back," Matt said.

"I stopped playing baseball when I was 13 or 14. That was hard. That was like the first time in my life that I had to come to grips with 'I can't do something,'" Matt told WBZ.

But it certainly did not stop him from finding a way to be involved in sports. During his time at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, he fell in love with being the basketball team manager. 

"It was like, well, I just did it there for four years, why not do it here? Why not come to BC and try to get involved in a similar capacity."

Boston College has been a great fit for Matt and has allowed him to thrive as an Eagle. 

His teammates love him, as do the coaching staff, and especially their head coach.

"I'm sure he's got a bright future ahead. He's a very smart guy, very knowledgeable, you know, stable, very grounded. His faith is important to him, so I think he's gonna be extremely successful in anything that he tries to get accomplished," Boston College Men's Basketball Head Coach Earl Grant said.

Matt will graduate this spring and is considering pursuing administration or coaching. 

Coaching is something his close friends from 'Athletes in Action' and the women's lacrosse team would love to see him do.

"I think Matt can win National Championships. I think he'd be an amazing Coach. Even though he's behind the bench, I think he'd be an amazing coach on the bench," senior lacrosse player Annabelle Hasselback said.

"Matt's going anywhere he wants, that's all. I'm so inspired by him every day I think it's so awesome that he doesn't let his disability stop him in any way,"  senior lacrosse player Maddy Manahan said.

Matt had something to say to anyone who is currently struggling with a disability.

"Don't let it define you, it's a part of who you are, but it's not who you are. Who you are is so much bigger and I feel like again dating back to a seven second impression, that might be like somebody's seven second impression of you is, you know, you have a disability, but there's so much more to you than that. There's so much more to all of us. We all have a story and our story is longer than seven seconds," Matt said.

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