On Labor Day, 2018, Officer Matt Cooper responded to a 911 call about a shoplifter and was shot in the head by a suspect. Cooper survived but had to endure several surgeries over the following months and go through physical therapy. On Saturday, Cooper achieved one of his recovery goals and was able to participate in the department’s annual 5K.
Cooper – a Covington, Georgia, police officer – led a one-mile portion of the 36th annual Fuzz Run 5K. After being shot, he was unable to participate in the 2018 Fuzz Run, and he made it one of his goals to take part this year.
“I was so mad I missed it,” said Cooper, according to a report by CNN. “I said I was doing it this year.”
“My main goals were to get my feeding tube out, my skull put back on, and run the Fuzz Run this year,” he stated.
The journey to the 5K wasn’t a simple one. Cooper underwent surgery multiple times and was in physical therapy for months.
Cooper still felt motivated to try and participate in the Fuzz Run. He led a one-mile portion, walking the majority and then taking a short jog as he got close to the finish line.
“To be able to finish with a quick jog for at least 10 feet meant the world to me,” said Cooper. “And to have everybody cheer me on… I’m beyond humbled by this city.”
Officer Matt Cooper just finished his mile! pic.twitter.com/flgykkKU0e
— Christian Jennings (@CJenningsWSB) September 14, 2019
Capt. Ken Malcolm discussed Cooper’s accomplishment, saying that, at this time last year, he was praying that Cooper would simply survive.
“He was being told, his family was being told, that he would be in a wheelchair,” said Malcolm. “He would not be in a position to run or walk,”
“So,” Malcolm continued, “for him to be able to get out and lead hundreds of people in a race is miraculous.”