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Matt Fritzie

Location, Kansas City, MO

“I feel like I have freedom.” -Matt Fritzie, Craig Graduate, Biomedical Engineering Masters Student

In 2010, a diving accident left college freshman Matt Fritzie with a C7 burst fracture that paralyzed him from the chest down, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing a career in engineering after years of hard work. “Right away,” he said, “I knew I wasn’t going to give up.”

Now a graduate student at Notre Dame’s Engineering, Science & Technology Entrepreneurship program, Matt intends to spend his career helping others with severe injuries. But it hasn’t been an easy road. “These injuries are catastrophic,” Matt said, “and you feel like you can’t move forward. You’ve got to redefine that mindset.”

Matt’s mother, Kim, said that her son learned at Craig that there is no limit to what you can overcome after injury if you dare to try. “[He had] amazing support from the start from the moment he was flown in [to Craig]. The staff was so caring, they prepared the family and him to basically adapt with his injury,” she said.

Fritzie received a $3,000 scholarship from the Craig Hospital Alumni Scholarship fund to return to school. “It helped motivate me to pursue my academic goals,” he said, and he loves that biomedical engineering such a progressive, innovative field that offers a profound opportunity to make a difference.

He said his experience at Craig fuels his desire to make an impact. “Without Craig I would be way more dependent on my family and I would not have the confidence to pursue these endeavors.” Now, he’s poised to pay it forward. “I hope to give back to the community at Craig Hospital through innovation that truly improves the quality of life for those affected by neurological impairments.”

Team Members

  • Gary A. Maerz, MD, MBA, PE Physician

    Craig Physicians

    Gary A. Maerz, MD, MBA, PE, joined CNS Medical Group in 2001 after completing a year-long Neurotrauma Rehabilitation Fellowship at Craig Hospital.

    Dr. Maerz previously completed medical school and subsequent residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and completed an internship in General Surgery at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver.

    He is board certified in the specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is further board certified in the subspecialties of Spinal Cord Medicine and Brain Injury Medicine. He has additional degrees in engineering and business and is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado.

    Dr. Maerz is the medical director of the Craig Hospital Combined Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program. He has a special interest in these complex injuries, as well as spasticity management and metabolic changes after spinal cord injury.

  • Pamela K. Beightol Inpatient Counselor

    Clinical Care Management

    Pamela K. Beightol, MA, CRC, education includes Bachelors of Social Work from Colorado State University and Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Northern Colorado. She is Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Pam started working at Craig Hospital in 1991. She worked with both Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury Teams until 1999. She then transitioned to Outpatient Patient and Family Services until 2009 when she returned to Inpatient Patient and Family Services.

  • Christina Skinner Nurse

  • Deepa Dierickx Occupational Therapist

    Occupational Therapy

  • Stephanie Laube Physical Therapist

    Physical Therapy

  • Donna Goldberg Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

    Therapeutic Recreation

    Donna Goldberg is an SCI Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who brings her wealth of talent and expertise to a 35 year career at Craig Hospital. Her areas of specialty include artistic and athletic skills that have had great impact and have enhanced the TR experience of her patients.