Monday, September 21, 2009

Carry On

This video from ESPN just gets better and better as you watch it.


Leroy Sutton was 11 years old at the time, walking to school with his brother along the Wheeling and Lake Erie railroad tracks near his home in East Akron, Ohio. A freight train approached, and Leroy got too close. His backpack got caught on one of the passing cars, and he was pulled beneath the wheels . . .

"The whole time I was in the hospital, I just asked, 'Why? Why?'" he said. "Every night I could not go to sleep … because when I tried, I'd end up hearing the sound of a train."

Leroy left the hospital a month and a half later. He endured long, difficult hours of rehabilitation. He accepted that a wheelchair would be part of his life but was determined to make it a small part.

"I did not want to be in my chair," he said. "I had to build my arm muscles up so I could move around. … I move around on my arms a lot."

That ability to move -- to lift and flip and twist his body -- led him to a place few expected, and into a friendship few could have foreseen.

In January 2008, midway through his junior year in high school, Leroy transferred to Lincoln-West High in Cleveland. By the time he was a senior, he was a familiar sight (his wheelchair flying down the hallways) with a familiar refrain (his laughter booming off the lockers). When he decided to join the wrestling team, just as he'd done at his previous school, the coaches welcomed him. They knew his story and were eager to tap his strength.

"I told him, 'You've been hit by a train. What else, what kid, what wrestler, what can stop you?'" said Lincoln-West coach Torrance Robinson.

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