Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Brandon Marshall...and the Two-Minute Drill

Brandon Marshall. Remember that name. He is a 16-year-old Olympic wrestling hopeful from Florida.

Here are the facts:

Brandon in action
·        Since last March he has 79 wins, 21 losses, and 38 pins and is ranked in the top 21% in the United States.

·        He was a member of the Cadet National Team-Florida for Greco and Freestyle (152 lbs.) in June of 2011.

·        He was a member of the All-American Team and took third place at the Disney Scholastic Duals/Folkstyle (152 lbs.) in June 2011.

·        1st Place Marine Corps Iron man/Folkstyle & Greco (152 lbs.) in April 2011.

·        1st Place Southeast Regional Championships (145 lbs.) in March 2011.

And, the list goes on.

Off the mat, he is ranked No. 1 in his sophomore class with a 4.65 (weighted) GPA, is on student council, and runs cross-country. Besides the dream of wrestling in the Olympics, Brandon would like to become a doctor.

His journey has been interrupted by an injury that is typically reserved for pitchers in baseball, because they use a repetitive motion. Brandon has a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and a partial tear of the common flexor tendon in his elbow. If the rehab doesn’t take, he will need to have surgery and will be out for a much longer period of time (up to 18 months in rehab after surgery). The surgery has been called Tommy John surgery and is a reconstruction of the ligament, usually with by grafting a tendon from the patient’s wrist and forearm.
He is currently missing the Folkstyle season and his Freestyle/Greco season is uncertain.

Here’s hoping the rehab takes and we’ll all be hearing his name being called as a competitor at the Olympics one day.

I talked to Brandon recently and here’s what he shared.
PJ: What were your goals for this year prior to the injury?

Brandon: I wanted to wrestle on varsity and get a lot of mat time. At the end of the season I wanted to make State and the Cadet Tourney and place well. In the summer, the goals were to make the Junior Duals and go to the Individual National Championships in Freestyle and Greco.
With the injury, my goals have stayed pretty much the same, as long as I don’t have surgery. Hopefully, I will make the Duals at the end of May and the tourney this summer.

Taking a break
PJ: What is your favorite style to wrestle and why?
Brandon: I like Greco because it’s all upper body. You can’t use your legs. I have long arms and not worrying about my legs is good. Using only my upper body is fun.

PJ: Tell me about you injury. How did it happen?
Brandon: At practice my partner pressed my shoulder, the back of my elbow and pulled. I heard three loud pops. The ligament separated on the inside in all three spots. For me, one move completely tore it out. Typically, in baseball pitchers throw it out.

PJ: What are you doing in rehab and how is it going?
Brandon: The best case scenario I will be back late January or early February. I warm up with a hand bike, which has hand grips instead of pedals. I do lot of reps with little weight to strengthen it and wrist flexs for the muscles around the tendon. Now, I am starting more dynamic moves like tossing a ball. This is to see how it does with more than just one control movement.

PJ: I noticed you also run cross-country. How does your wrestling help your cross-country or is it your cross-country that helps with your wrestling?
Cross-country helps with my stamina. I can run three-and-a-half to seven miles without stopping and I’m in good shape. Wrestling helps with shorter bursts and gives me quicker speed. So, each sport helps the other.

PJ: You are on student council, placed first in the Science Fair and were the alternate in the State qualifier, and hold the No. 1 ranking in your class…how do you do all this?
Brandon: It’s a lot of work. Any spare moment at school, I use to get my homework done. I do talk to my friends, but only in between classes. Then, at home I do as little as possible, so I’m not so overwhelmed and have some time to relax.

PJ: How has your injury changed your outlook on things?
Brandon: Sometimes it has been difficult when all my friends get to wrestle. However, I try to stay positive as much as I can.

Favorite Sports Team: Green Bay Packers (another member of the Packer Nation! Green and yellow, green and yellow.)
Favorite Movie: [A long pause]…I have lots of favorites, but these come to mind…The Mummy—I’ve seen this a lot--and Contagion was pretty good.

Can’t Miss TV Program: Pysch.
Favorite Musical Group: Aerosmith.

Top Destination on Travel List: Tibet, near Mount Everest.

Favorite Candy: Raisonettes.

Check out Brandon’s take on this interview and follow the rest of his journey...