By Micaela Soler
On a late winter night 10 years ago, Matthew Maher sat at a Philadelphia bar after he had injured his knee the day before.
The Philadelphia Kixx soccer player, whose career-threatening injury stranded him in a world of uncertainty, made a decision that night that he would regret forever.
He left the bar with his friend to drive to Atlantic City. As he sped down the road, his car collided with the minivan of Hort Kap, a husband and father of six. The 55-year-old died at the scene, according to a 2010 nj.com article.
After Maher was found guilty of driving under the influence and killing Kap, he was sentenced to five and a half years in prison and was released in August 2014.
Since his release, Maher has become the man behind the creation of “Truth Over Trend,” a motivational presentation of how his life changed for the worst after one wrong decision. Maher uses his experience to travel and speak to students to allow them to understand how one night can change everything, which is what he did during his visit to the Brower Student Center on Oct. 28.
The College’s sorority of Delta Zeta was the main Greek organization to coordinate the event, while other organizations supported it.
Mimi Colon-Jordan, a freshman business management major, felt that it was important to inform people on how to prevent situations like Maher’s.
“Colleges need to be educated on how to keep themselves away from such situations,” Colon-Jordan said. “I know people who have been involved and it’s just not a good thing to be a part of.”
The lecture began with Maher recalling back to a nightmare, something most people have experienced during their sleep, and relating the sensation of being powerless during the dream to the feeling of losing control during a terrible accident.
“One bad decision ruins a million good ones,” Maher said about the night that ruined his life as a professional soccer player.
The presentation was followed along with a slideshow, containing simple yet powerful phrases Maher said and videos about his background, the night of the accident, his speech to the victim’s family and more.
“Look at me,” Maher said multiple times throughout his lecture, in an attempt to let the students understand his emotions.
When asked what was his key motivation to becoming a spokesperson behind drunk driving, Maher said, “The platform brings with it pain, and pain can either get you to shut down or pain can birth passion.”
Near the end, one student asked Maher what his biggest hope was for students in attendance.
“My prayer is that the message will ring true in their individual lives, that they make the right decision,” he said. “A lot of times youthfulness brings with it the mentality of being indestructible, so I hope to break that unrealistic perception and insert the message of accountability,” he said.