Skip to main content

Teen wrestler describes the moment he was paralyzed during varsity match

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Wrestlers expect to pick up a few bumps and bruises on the mat, but a Sartell freshman now faces a long road to recovery after an innocuous move almost left him paralyzed.

Nathan O'Brien woke up in hospital unable to move his arms or legs five hours after he was given a "fireman's carry" during a match against Sauk Rapids on January 22, FOX 9, which has footage of the incident, reports.

It was a move done on him hundreds of times before, only this time his body went limp after he landed, while his parents watched on from the sidelines.

"I remember getting out on the mat and wrestling for a little bit. And then when I hit my head it kinda went bright really quick," he told the news station. "It almost felt like I was in a dark box."

This embed is invalid

Fortunately his paralysis is only temporary and he has slowly but surely been making a recovery, with his mother Brenda keeping his teammates updated via the Sartell Wrestling Facebook page as he regained the use of his legs.

"Nathan is taking many steps without the walker today," she said on February 1. "He is determined to be walker free this week !! Meet with rehab therapist Tuesday. So thankful he is gaining strength every day."

The freshman comes from a family of wrestlers, with his brothers Caleb and Daniel joining him on the varsity team, while his 12-year-old brother Jacob also wrestles, the St. Cloud Times reports.

He spent five days in hospital after sustaining the spinal injury, and while he is grateful to have gradually regained the use of his body, he's disappointed not to finish out the season.

The wrestler who gave O'Brien the fireman's carry has been trying to contact him to apologize. "It shows good sportsmanship and character," O'Brien's father Mark told the newspaper.

Next Up

ambulance

One dead, two injured in wrong-way crash on Hwy. 169

The crash occurred on Highway 169 early Sunday morning.

minneapolis police

Man fatally shot overnight in north Minneapolis

The shooting was reported around 2:20 a.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 8.30.08 AM

Campsites closed at Voyageurs National Park due to 'historic' water levels

All backcountry trails and campsites are closed, as well as many frontcountry sites.

state capitol Minnesota

Lawmakers reach agreement on tax cuts ahead of session's end

Lawmakers announced they had reached a deal on a tax bill Saturday ahead of the looming session deadline.

281699116_10226502238438986_800951410789352812_n

Victims of daytime drive-by shooting in Robbinsdale identified

The two men died after a hail of bullets struck a vehicle.

Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 8.14.37 AM

Source of 'loud explosion' in Brooklyn Park a mystery

The noise was investigated by police, but no source could be determined.

covid, vaccine, booster shots

COVID: All Americans over 50 advised to get a second booster

Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise again as new COVID variants emerge.

J.W. Peck (left) and Eric Galler.

2 Minnesotans inducted into White Castle's Hall of Fame

White Castle — it's what a man in Minneapolis and another in Woodbury, crave.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 5.46.37 PM

Video shows officers ended pursuit before fatal crash in Anoka

The crash occurred when the driver fled police during an attempted traffic stop in Coon Rapids.

Eli Hart

6-year-old Eli Hart identified as boy found dead in car trunk

The kindergartner's father was trying to get full custody of his son.

IMG_3509

Boy found dead in trunk of car in Mound was kindergartner

"It is horrifying and difficult to process a tragedy of this magnitude, especially in our close-knit community," the superintendent wrote.

Minneapolis police

Man found yelling for help after being shot in Minneapolis

The shooting occurred on the 800 block of Elwood Avenue North at around 9:15 p.m.

Related