Nashville Preds' Gnash Surprises Injured Officer

Posted at 5:09 PM, Aug 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 22:56:18-04

A Murfreesboro police officer severely injured while on the job received a big surprise from the Nashville Predators. 

Last month, Officer Matthew Stern was rushed to the hospital after his motorcycle collided with a vehicle on Memorial Boulevard.

Murfreesboro Police Suspend Motorcycle Program

Officials with the Murfreesboro Police Department said he was responding to an injury crash when the incident occurred.

"As the bike spun I got ejected off the back of the bike instead of forward," Stern recalled. 

On Tuesday, the Preds' mascot, Gnash, surprised Stern on what he thought would be another day of physical therapy. 

Stern is a big Preds fan and has even attended a game during the Stanley Cup Final. The team learned about his story and surprised him with a signed jersey, a signed puck and tickets to the home opener.

"Gratitude is not a sufficient word, thanks is not a sufficient word. I didn't even know that many people liked me, let alone love me," Stern jokingly said. 

His fellow officers, family and hospital staff at Trustpoint Hospital were there to witness the special occasion. 

"We are big hockey fans so it was hard to keep quiet," His wife, Stephanie Etheridge Stern, told NewsChannel 5.

Stern also got to see his young son walk for the first time in person. He was first hospitalized at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and would only be able to see his son through FaceTime. 

"At that moment this is incredible today was actually he was able to see Hunter walk in person," Stephanie added.

Stern faced multiple injuries including a fractured skill, 11 broken ribs, and two collapsed lungs. 

He credited his faith in God, community support, fellow officers and family for getting him through a difficult journey.

"If he has a purpose for me and I'm  not done here yet, then I need to hurry up and get better, that's what keeps me grounded," Stern said. "My wife is my rock and she kept my family together and I don't know how I would've gotten through this without her."

He hopes to remove his neck brace and start physical therapy on his neck this week.