Concussion derails wrestler's hopes
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Nick Purdue, a Genoa product and Ohio University’s 174-pound wrestler, won the Mid-American Conference title and qualified for his third NCAA tournament.
It’s not so much the falling short of being an NCAA All-American that bothers Nick Purdue. It’s that unfortunate circumstances prevented him from getting a fair shake.
Purdue, a Genoa product and Ohio University’s 174-pound wrestler, suffered a concussion in January that sidelined him for two weeks and derailed his progression and training at the critical stages of his senior season. Although he returned to the mats in impressive fashion, winning the MAC title and qualifying a third time to the NCAA tournament, Purdue said he “wasn’t the same guy” after his nose collided with a teammate’s knee at the end of practice on Jan. 21.
“I was out two straight weeks with no physical activity whatsoever,” Purdue said. “I couldn’t go to class. That was a really debilitating injury, and I think that played a role in how my senior season ended.”
Purdue, who won two Division III state titles at Genoa, dropped both of his bouts at the NCAA tournament on March 15 in St. Louis. He finished the year 19-10 overall.
His biggest thrill came two weeks earlier, when, in front of a home crowd in Athens, he captured his first MAC title. After opening the competition with a bye, top-seeded Purdue upended Central Michigan’s Anthony Bill, 9-2, to reach the finals. There, he prevailed 12-10 over Eastern Michigan’s Phillip Joseph.
“That was sweet. That was almost just as good as being an All-American,” Purdue said. “I feel good about the way my career closed, but that being said, I would have liked to have been an All-American.”
If healthy, he might have.
It wasn’t until three days after he suffered the concussion that Purdue approached a team trainer. The biggest indicator something was amiss was his performance in a 7-4 loss the following evening to a Bloomsburg opponent.
“I felt a way in that match I can’t remember feeling at all throughout college,” he said. “A sense of panic. I was seriously concussed and had been concussed for a day and a half and was working out really intensely.”
Purdue may have wrestled his final match, but he’s not sure. He’s considering making the leap to international competition, but for now, he’s enjoying student teaching at a middle school near Athens. He expects to graduate this spring.
“My life’s about to change in a drastic way,” he said. “I’m just trying to plan the best for it and see what happens.”
Contact Ryan Autullo at: email@example.com, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @RyanAutullo
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