Reis says father-in-law critical

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Matt Reis rarely struggles to find the right words in front of an audience.

As the Revolution's longest-tenured player, the veteran goalkeeper often takes a light-hearted approach when talking to fans and media alike, infusing his witty sense of humor whenever possible.

But on Wednesday, it was an entirely different story.

Less than 48 hours after his father-in-law, John Odom, was critically injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, a somber and serious Reis spoke candidly about the situation with the local media.

"He's still in critical condition," Reis said of his father-in-law. "He was alert this morning, but he's been through three surgeries now in the last 40 hours or so. He hasn't really stabilized yet, and we're still hoping, but he is progressing a little bit. We're still not sure if he's out of the woods yet. We still don't know if he's going to make it so that's definitely the hardest (part)."

Marathon Monday was supposed to be a joyous event for Reis and his wife, Nicole, who was running it for the first time. She was part of a team of runners that was participating in the historic race on behalf of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation.

It was a seasonably cool day in Boston -- a picture-perfect spring day by most standards. At around 2:45 p.m., Reis and five other family members were getting ready to take pictures of Nicole, who was about to complete her first Boston Marathon. They were stationed about 50 yards in front of the finish line.

But at the last moment, most of the group decided to move closer to the finish line, to get a better vantage point. Reis, with his 6-year-old son Jacob sitting on his shoulders, joined them. John Odom stayed behind.

A minute later, an explosion rocked the crowd of onlookers. And Reis' father-in-law was right near it.

"It was like a cannon going off," Reis said. "At first, I thought that it was part of the race, but it wasn't. Looking back to where it'd gone off, you could tell that's right where we were."

But instead of running away, Reis sprinted toward the danger.

"It was all a complete reaction," Reis said. "I handed (Jacob) off to my brother- in-law. I knew that (the blast) was right back where we (just) were, so I wanted to try and get back in there and help."

A rush of first responders converged upon the scene as well, and helped the wounded to safety. One of them was Odom, who was brought to a nearby hospital.

Since news spread that Reis' father-in-law was among the injured, the Revolution goalkeeper has received thousands of well-wishes and words of comfort from teammates, fans and the national soccer community.

He's thankful for all the support, and he acknowledged that his teammates have helped him begin the healing process. Although he didn't participate in Wednesday's training session, just being able to watch his teammates practice must have felt like a welcome distraction.

"You miss them and you miss being around the guys," Reis said as his teammates scrimmaged out on the practice field. "I just wanted to let them know that all the love and the prayers and the special thoughts that they've been sending to me haven't gone unnoticed."

The coming days and weeks will be a struggle for Reis and the rest of his family. There will be more hospital visits, more time to reflect on what happened, why it happened, and how it could've happened to someone so close to him.

"We're trying to do the best we can," Reis said. "We've just been through a roller coaster of emotions. We've been happy and sad and angry and pretty much everything (else). We're trying to be strong for each other, strong for John and (we're) trying to give him as much as he needs help to fight this."

The words aren't easy for Reis right now. They may not be for a while.

"It's amazing how things change just in an instant," Reis said. "It has been chaotic."