Oklahoma teen who lost both legs overcoming odds as a high school wrestler
If you judged just from the tale of the tape, 17-year-old Justice Antwine is at a disadvantage every time he straps on his wrestling gear.
For one, he gives up almost 10 kilograms to most opponents despite competing at 50 kg, the smallest high school weight class. With only two years in wrestling, he could give up an experience edge as well.
All that pales, however, in comparison to the true hurdle Antwine has to overcome: a serious medical issue cost him both of his legs more than seven years ago.
Yet today, the Edmond North High School wrestler has a simple message for anyone who doubts his drive.
“Just tell them to watch me,” Antwine told News 9 in Oklahoma.
And if you have been watching, then you saw him rack up nine wins this year as a junior on the Edmond North High School wrestling team in Edmond, Okla.
The school’s wrestling coach, Andy Schneider, says Antwine’s work ethic and drive are what got him a spot on the team.
“This sport is so tough it can grind on you and especially this time of year, this is the time of the year it can get really rough,” Schneider said. “And you can look over there at that guy, and he’s still giving it his all.”
Antwine lost both of his legs due to complications from a staph infection.
He says what drew him to wrestling wasn’t the competition as much as the feeling of camaraderie.
“If I lose a match, [my opponents] all come up to me and hug me and say I love you, you did a good job out there. That means something,” Antwine said.
The youngest of eight children, Antwine also excels in wheelchair basketball. He’s considering attending Arizona State University on a wheelchair basketball scholarship.
He credits his mother with supporting him and encouraging him.
“I just want to tell her thank you for…the opportunity, for everything in my life and putting clothes on my back,” Antwine said.
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