Champion curler Matt Dunstone perseveres after eye injury

World Junior Curling bronze medallist Matt Dunstone releases a rock during competition. SUPPLIED

World Junior Curling bronze medallist Matt Dunstone releases a rock during competition. SUPPLIED/ Anil Mungal

Winnipeg’s Matt Dunstone recently brought home a bronze medal from the 2016 World Junior Curling Championships, but the young phenom’s career started out with a trip to the hospital.

Dunstone, 20, was only four years old when he first stepped on to a curling rink, and it wasn’t long before a broom hit him in the face.

“He fell on the ice… and the broom came back and hit him in the eye,” said Dunstone’s dad, Dean, who had brought him to the Heather Curling Club that day.

Even before Dunstone had blood dripping down his face, Dean knew that everyone in the packed curling club was wondering why he brought his son out at such a young age. But Dunstone’s determination showed them all that he was ready to play, even after being injured to the point that Dean thought his son may need stitches.

“He wanted to go back on the ice. That’s the kind of kid he was, so passionate,” said Dean.

Dunstone and his dad finished curling before going to St. Boniface Hospital. The cut didn’t require serious attention, but even Dunstone is surprised he stuck with curling after that day.

“You’d think I’d quit after an experience like that, but nope,” said Dunstone, laughing.

Dunstone continued to play, capturing a gold medal from the Canadian Junior Curling Championships and a bronze from the World Junior Curling Championships in this year alone.

But the curler feels his sport sometimes takes over his life.

“Now would be one of those instances,” he said, referring to the three weeks he just spent on the road for the world juniors. “There comes a time when you got to sit down and not think about throwing a rock for a while.”

But even when he’s not playing, curling is still a core part of Dunstone’s life, and he doesn’t plan on giving it up anytime soon.

“I fell in love with the sport,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine my life without it.”