Fallston High School senior CJ Austin says the Maryland State Wrestling Tournament over the weekend was too painful. He meant literally.
The UCBAC and Class 1A-2A East Region 152-pound champion can say that because his spot at the tournament was in a hard Cole Field House seat instead of on the mats below.
Austin, who was 36-0 and seeking a state title, missed the tournament due to a slight separation of the SC joint in his right shoulder. Austin also has a lower back injury that he says has left one hip higher than the other
"I think I did it during my first match in the regional tournament (Feb. 22-23) against the kid from Kent Island," Austin said. "We were both going for a lateral drop and I came down awkwardly, with my arm under me."
The injury wasn't obvious to Austin at that point, an injury that affects the joint where the clavicle meets the sternum. As it turned out, another jolt to that area could have created a major damage, according to Austin. "It could have poked a major artery," Austin said.
Ironically, Austin went on to win two more matches the next day to win the region title. There was lower back pain, but still no real sign of the shoulder injury.
Later that same night though, Austin was in an emergency room because of the shoulder. "I didn't know at that point," Austin said. It wasn't until last Wednesday that Austin said he knew for sure. After visits to doctors, therapists and more doctors, the final analysis was revealed last Wednesday morning.
"At first I was in so much pain, I didn't know if I wanted to wrestle," Austin said. So, not wrestling, Austin made the trip to College Park to watch. "It was hard to watch, it was really tough," Austin said.
Moving forward, Austin says once he's healed, he plans to get back into the routine and be ready to compete in a couple tournaments over the summer. "I still want to try and wrestle in college," Austin said.
Austin, who plans to major in criminal justice, says he had a good visit with Wheeling Jesuit University and there has also been interest from East Stroudsburg University. Both are Division II schools.