ERLANGER, Ky. (FOX19) - The Erlanger community continues to grieve the loss of a 16-year-old who died unexpectedly at St. Henry High School after collapsing during soccer practice.
The father of Matthew Mangine Jr. wants his son’s story to inspire.
“You know as a parent, you know your kid as a parent, but you don’t know. You have that feeling that you know and after talking with his friends and reading the support and them telling you the stories I’m not supposed to hear until his wedding - it made me realize what kind of kid he was,” Mangine said.
They called him a changer and a helper.
It’s what Matthew did that’ll help change the lives of more than a hundred people.
“Matthew had signed his donor card. I had never had that conversation with him. My wife did - and he had asked her about it. She said, ‘I do it to help someone else.’ He made that, that was one of the last decisions of his life. It puts into perspective who he was as a kid,” Mangine said.
His family says Matthew was a happy kid who would grow up to be a big brother and a big presence on the soccer field.
No one pictured the place where he won games would be the place where his friends now remember his loss.
“The way they’ve handled this is unbelievable because they’ve helped us get through this process,” Mangine said.
Matthew’s father says the more he talks about his son, the better he feels. And the more he talks to his son’s friends, the more he learns about his son’s impact.
“He is the kid that I thought he was and it sucks that he’s not going to be here in the future, but dammit while he was here, he did it right. That’s what we always talked about. I told him, ‘you got one shot. This is it. Use it as a positive inspiration. Be the inspiration. Don’t be the problem,‘” Mangine said.