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Posted December 17, 2012
HIGH SCHOOL JOURNALISM: One match that may have ended a career

Editor’s note: Here is your chance to tell your story about your team, your school or your favorite player. If you’d like to join The Gazette’s growing list of high school contributors, contact J.R. Ogden at jr.ogden@thegazette.com

By Brady Hoffman, Xavier sophomore

CEDAR RAPIDS – Wrestling since he was in kindergarten. Wrestling two hours a day during the off season. Sacrificing his eating habits, all in hopes of excelling in high school.

Then, in one night, it’s all shattered, all taken away.

That is exactly what happened to Cedar Rapids Xavier High School sophomore Phillip Waddell on Dec. 1.

Wrestling has been all Waddell has ever known, but, unfortunately, when he broke two bones in his neck, things changed.

“I have to wear a neck brace for three months and see how it goes from there,” Waddell said.

He broke his T1 and C6 bones in his neck during his varsity match. He was thrown onto the mat and landed on his head, lying there unconscious.

Waddell may never wrestle again after that night.

The sophomore was committed to being excellent this season, practicing two hours every day during the off-season. At lunch, he went from triple food portions every day to single portions. He wore sweatshirts during practices to get the most out of a workout. On a daily basis, he would push himself to the point of vomiting.

To wrestle, one must be self-disciplined, watch his or her food portions and focus on their next opponent.

There is no sport, especially wrestling, where an athlete cane pick up on the first day of practice from where he or she  left off last year’s season. One has to put in the time off season.

Waddell had done this routine for the past 11 years. Now he is watching from the sidelines, cheering on his teammates.

Hoping to be a manager, when he is physically able, Waddell’s outlook on his situation is not negative. When asked if he would go out again if he had the chance to do it all over, he responded with a proud “yes.”

He turns to his favorite quote to view his situation: “After you wrestle, everything in life is easier.” – Dan Gable






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