An East Bay high school wrestler who suffered a serious injury that left him paralyzed has made a remarkable recovery.
Ryan Joseph is back at the gym, cheering on his wrestling teammates, but two years ago during a match at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, he sustained a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe on his own.
"I was wrestling a guy, same format as what's happening today," Joseph said Wednesday. "He didn't do anything wrong, but I just landed wrong and dislocated my neck."
Anyone expecting the teenager to be bitter and resentful would be wrong.
"I wasn't chosen for this," he said. "It was just a fluke and it could happen to anybody."
Joseph spent more than a year at a hospital in Colorado that specializes in spinal cord injuries. He's now able to walk on crutches.
Earlier this month, he returned to school to wrap up his senior year and cheer on the other wrestler in the family, his younger sister.
"He got all the way from paralyzed, not breathing, to, I mean, he's working out the weights twice a day," Haley Joseph said.
Ryan Joseph said after he graduates this year, he's planning to attend Diablo Valley College. He added that his favorite class is weight class because he's working on building up his upper body strength.
"I mean, it sounds cheesy, but you can't give up on yourself," he said.