“He was always so good about wearing his helmet,” said Michelle Jiménez Reyes, the mother of 20-year-old Matthew Shelton. But around 4:40 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Matthew, former bassist for Cut-rate Icon, had no helmet.
According to the police report, Jiménez said, Matthew “lost control of his motorcycle and was thrown 80 to 100 yards.” Though he fractured his shoulder plate, miraculously he suffered no spinal-cord injury and received only minor scrapes on his face. His head took the bulk of the impact.
“I just couldn’t believe the voicemail I got,” said Jiménez, a well-known local bartender, public-school advocate, and massage therapist.
Matthew has already undergone two brain operations. From University Hospital he was taken to Austin’s Texas NeuroRehab Center, which specializes in traumatic brain injury, and for two weeks he was unconscious and unresponsive. There are conflicting opinions regarding whether or not he was in a coma.
“The neurosurgeon said that, technically, he wasn’t in a coma,” said Jiménez. “He said, ‘He’s not awake, but not in a coma.’ We’re kind of confused too. Some doctors call it a coma, but the nurse says ‘not really.’ The trauma doctor was the one who told us he was in a coma.”
On January 14, Matt opened his eyes for the first time, but “it didn’t seem he was there,” Jiménez said. She kept reading to him for two days.
“He was really listening to me, I know it,” she said. “I asked him, ‘Can you hear me? If you can hear me, squeeze my hand.’ And he did. That was on January 16. His eyes had been opened for a couple of days before that, but this was really the first time he seemed to really understand anybody.”
Matthew went to St. Anthony’s Catholic School and was attending UTSA as a junior majoring in Political Science. His passions, besides music, include politics and human rights, and he wanted to join the Air Force’s ROTC program before pursuing a career in politics. While in high school, he was the bass player in local band Cut-Rate Icon, and on the band’s website he listed the Dead Kennedys, the Sex Pistols, and the Clash as some of his favorite bands. He was interested in learning Japanese and spent five months in Japan as an exchange student.
But his plans will have to wait for now, as all efforts are focused on his recovery. So far, there are two benefits taking place simultaneously Friday night, and Nightrocker Live has already offered up the venue for a third fundraiser.
“So many bands and venues have offered me their services, and people that I don’t even know have offered many prayers,” said Jiménez. It’s big change from the first few days after the accident, when there was nothing but pain and uncertainty.
“The first few days, when they couldn’t tell us whether he would live or die, were awful,” she said. “I had some of my sisters who don’t live in Texas come in and I didn’t think about it ’till later, but now I realize everybody was coming to a funeral. In the back of my head I knew it was a possibility, but at the same time I was thinking, ‘This can’t happen, this can’t be the end of my son.’”
“He smiled at me last week,” Jiménez said. “He reached out and touched my face. He smirks and smiles, raise his eyebrows … Sometimes he has a look of questioning, and his face is getting more and more expressive.
“I could speak forever about my son. Of course, he’s my son and I love him, but it’s more than that. Not only do I love my son, I really like him a lot. He’s a wonderful boy, a wonderful person.” •
A benefit for Matthew Shelton
Featuring video installations by Laura Robles, Sarah Garrahan, and Michael David García, and music by Jeremiah, Josh Villarreal, Travis Rosen, Libby Mattingsley, Raz, Jake Dromgoole and the Color Pack, AA Batteries, Chris Conde, Rainbow Chilton, Bleep Attack, Ricky Berger (above), Instillment, Eli Medina, and Emma Díaz.
5pm-midnight Fri, Feb 11
2106 N St. Marys
Music For Matt
A night of music benefitting Matt Shelton with Pop Pistol, Squid Row, and Yoshimoto. Art pieces by local artists will be raffled off.
10:30pm Fri, Feb 11
2423 N. St. Mary’s