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Wednesday, July 25, 2007
By Bryan Marquard, Globe Staff
Speaking from a wheelchair that granted him the luxury of independent movement, Matt Nagle downplayed any suggestion that it took courage to let neuroscientists use his body as research laboratory.
"I'm not brave at all," he told the Globe a little more than a year ago. The experiments, he said, might prove beneficial for others who are paralyzed. "I was happy I could help; it was very humbling to be able to do that."
Where he saw humility, others saw heroism. Stabbed in the neck when he tried to help friends who had found themselves in a brawl, Mr. Nagle was paralyzed six years ago. Applying the intensity he had shown on the football field at Weymouth High School, he refused to accept that he would never walk again or breathe without a ventilator, and volunteered for treatments that allowed him, through electrodes implanted in his body, to operate a robotic hand, play computer games, and breathe on his own.
"There's that little bit of a fire that you need to be able to draw on at crunch time, and he had it," Ross Tortora, who had been Mr. Nagle's high school football coach, said yesterday.
Mr. Nagle, who was 27, died Monday. He had lived in Weymouth.
Mr. Nagle leaves his father and mother, Patrick G. and Ellen (Shumway) of Weymouth; and a brother, Michael P. of Weymouth.
A funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Francis Xavier Church in South Weymouth.
Posted by the Boston Globe City & Region Desk at 03:05 PM