Matteo Cattini on the power of sport, the freedom of exploring


Matteo Cattini recovered from a life-changing accident and found a world of inspiration and freedom in power-lifting and world travel.

Matteo Cattini originally shared his story with Yoocan, a global collaborative community where people with disabilities share experiences and knowledge — so that no one feels alone. Yoocan and Why We Play are a natural match and overlap in the most important thing for our community INSPIRATION. FanSided is excited to partner with Yoocan and share some of their stories on our website — exciting and fantastic sports stories from people with disabilities. Come check out more of our joint material, and keep following for collaborations!

I am Matteo Cattini, captain of the Italian Para Powerlifting Team. I had a very bad accident in 2008 when I was 23. I was super in love with my Yamaha R6 motorbike. Like many love stories, this one also ended badly. There was a hole in the road, right after a corner, and I was thrown off the motorbike and I ended up on a lamppost.

I spent more than eight months in several hospitals and the feedback from the doctors was often discouraging: bi-amputation, severe complications, even death. I tried not to lose hope and my natural positivity. As soon as I left the hospital, I started going to the gym: I needed to restore both my body and my spirit. That’s when I discovered my new passion: para powerlifting.

From the hospital, to para powerlifting to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

Going to the gym after more than eight months at the hospital seemed like a good idea to regain some muscle tone. Apparently, I was pretty good at it. In fact, I soon started to compete at a national level, winning my first titles. In 2012 I was called up by the National Team and I started to travel abroad for international competitions. My heart skipped a beat when I got the call for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the dream of every Para Athlete. Now, after 13 years as an almost full-time athlete with a job, I am now dedicating more to my sports national federation where I also work as an employee (Italian Weightlifting Federation, FIPE).

Matteo Cattini: Never stop exploring!

My life is not only about Para Powerlifting but also about traveling the world! Thanks to my bionic leg, I can walk almost everywhere and explore nature around the world. I’ve visited Jordan, Iceland, Norway, US on the road, Greeks Islands, Ireland, Finland, my beautiful Country … and many more to come!

Sometimes, especially if I’m on a steep path, I meet people that stare at me, and then they say kind words that congratulate me for my spirit. This flatters me, but at the same time, I hope for an ideal world where every amputee has the possibility to do it. And that’s not the current case. I hope that things will change in the near future, and communities like this play an essential role in showing what we can do. Anything!

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Why We Play features stories about the power of sports to bring us together, overcome obstacles, make positive change and reach everyone. Read more here.