Some injuries end careers. Others pave the way for incredible comeback efforts.
Having finished third place in CIF State Wrestling Girls Championships the previous year, recovering from a dislocated shoulder that required an emergency-room visit, Alex Hedrick of Bella Vista High School took the mat at the 2015 state finals with her eyes on the top spot. The physical agony of dislocating that shoulder again, in the middle of the title match, would be emotionally devastating for some athletes.
Hedrick lost by injury default but gained a more glass-half-full outlook. And she’s an example of perseverance, regrouping and coming back for more.
“I was a little upset but I was losing anyway,” Hedrick said with an indifferent tone. “I just wanted it (her shoulder) back in.”
Nursing a different injury to the same shoulder sustained last month after being rammed against a wall, Hedrick traveled to Oklahoma City on March 24-25 for another round of action, the Girls Folkstyle National Championships.
She came home with a silver medal and a black eye. Hedrick, wrestling for Team California, finished second in the 122-pound weight class to defending champion Gracie Figueroa, also of Team California.
Success and injuries are nothing new to Hedrick who held spots on the girls and boys varsity wrestling teams at Bella Vista. She underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage after the second shoulder dislocation. Wrestling is with her in every form, right on down to that tender wing.
“I had to wear this terrible immobilizer for six weeks in the summer, when it was really hot and uncomfortable, and I only kept it on because I really wanted my shoulder to be OK for wrestling,” Hedrick said.