New Prague teacher Matt Shetka dies shoveling snow - KMSP-TV

New Prague teacher, coach dies shoveling snow

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Matt Shetka Matt Shetka

A New Prague middle school teacher and successful coach died Sunday. Speculation is that Matt Shetka suffered a heart attack while shoveling snow.

Shetka, 54, taught seventh grade social studies at New Prague Middle School.

Friends say he shoveled his driveway Sunday morning, then went inside to watch the Vikings game. He collapsed after going outside to finish shoveling the sidewalk.

Shetka was found by a neighbor who attempted CPR, but it was too late.

New Prague assistant gymnastics coach told FOX 9 that Shetka coached gymnastics for 33 years, winning three state championships and finishing as a runner-up seven times. Shetka also coached the girls' golf team to a pair of state titles, and is credited with building the program.

"He was New Prague gymnastics," Tami Jackson said. "None of us would be the gymnasts we were or the people we are without him."

Jackson remembered Shetka as a coach who pushed her -- to the point where he ticked her off -- when he led her team to a second-place state finish in 1999.

"He was there for you when you were ticked off, and said, 'This is why we are doing this and I know you can do this,'" she recalled. "He was behind you 100 percent."

Shetka took over the program in 1980, and he also coached the girl's golf team to two state titles, including one just last year.

"He could work with kids and get the best out of them," said assistant gymnastics coach Doug Amundsen, who has been Shetka's friend and right-hand man for over 20 years.

Shetka leaves behind a wife of 32 years and four sons. Off camera, Meg Shetka told FOX 9 News that family meant everything to her husband -- but so did gymnastics. Even though he talked about retiring because it was hard on his body, he always said he couldn't leave the girls and sport he loved.

"He's going to be missed," Shetka said. "Big shoes to fill."

The school's athletic director said they are considering canceling Friday's meet following the sudden loss, and a moment of silence has been planned for all sporting events on Tuesday.

Wake details:
Friday, Dec. 14
4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Bruzek Funeral Home
610 E. Main Street, New Prague

Funeral details:
Saturday, Dec. 15 (time TBA)
Church of St. Wenceslaus
215 E. Main Street, New Prague

A moment of silence will be held at all New Prague events Tuesday, and the athletics department is considering canceling Friday's gymnastics meet.

from the American Heart Association

Give yourself a break. Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling so you don't overstress your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.

Don't eat a heavy meal prior to shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra load on your heart.

Don't drink alcoholic beverages before shoveling. Alcohol may increase a person's sensation of warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body is under in the cold.

Use a small shovel. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts more times, than to lug a few huge shovelfuls of snow.

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