As a high schooler, Dr. Matthew Mbanga, a native of Zimbabwe, competed in international tournaments in both rugby and waterpolo, earning him Sportsman of the Year at an elite all-boy’s private high school in Harare, Zimbabwe. From there, he captained a university rugby team in Texas, where he received an academic scholarship and he also captained the Texas Collegiate All-Star Rugby side.
During his senior year of college, he was in a 100mph motorcycle accident that left him in a coma for 5 days and on his stomach for 5 months, having lost the skin off his entire back. The injuries he sustained were a torn ACL, LCL, PCL, hamstring and severed the peroneal nerve, all in one leg. He had no muscular control from the knee down on his right leg, as a result of the severed nerve, which made it impossible to walk without a limp. He was given the news that he could no longer play sports and advised to have his leg amputated so that he could be more mobile. “I chose to keep my leg and returned to my homeland battered, bruised, depressed, directionless and permanently disabled.”
After returning home, Dr. Mbanga began to volunteer with an organization in rural Zimbabwe that gave him purpose, hope, and a new lease on life. This organization taught leadership and lifeskills to orphans. While there, he developed culturally appropriate leadership material and ran adventure-based experiential learning camps for young people all over Zimbabwe. Then he received both his MBA and Doctorate in Transformational Leadership. He is now the CEO of Foundations for Farming, an organization that equips impoverished farming communities to feed themselves through faithful stewardship of the land. Foundations for Farming is stationed in 9 countries on 4 continents and he is able to train and visit farmers in remote parts of the continent pain free thanks to being fit with a ToeOFF® AFO.
“The Allard AFO’s greatest benefits are its light weight, durability, comfort and the slim design that allows me to wear any footwear and enjoy full mobility. I can do virtually everything I enjoy doing; play with my kids, bounce on the trampoline, kick a rugby ball and go for runs with comfort and ease. I completed my first triathlon last year (using my old brace). I completed the event, but sustained injuries due to the discomfort of the brace. As soon as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions ease I look forward to beginning to train in earnest for my next event. I have no achilles pain since starting to wear the Allard AFO and expect a less painful experience of competing this time around!”