Success Story: Amputee Wrestler
By taking just one glance at the photos on this page, your interest has, most likely, been piqued. The idea of a highly accomplished amputee wrestler is a fascinating, inspirational, and very intriguing concept that can best be described when you read more about the story of Michael Fetters.
A Chesterfield, Indiana native, Michael Fetters, was born with a birth defect and his right leg was amputated below the knee at the age of only 9 months.
“There were ups and downs growing up as an amputee, but overall it was not that bad”, Michael said. “I tried everything any other kid would try”.
Michael lives with his parents Trampas and Kara Fetters, as well as his brother, Wyatt Fetters. Growing up, Michael had a passion for backyard football, BMX, dirt bikes, and 4-wheelers, but it was his mother, Kara, who knew that Michael would be great at wrestling and encouraged him to try it.
“We’ve always encouraged Michael to try new things”, said Kara and Trampas Fetters, Michael’s parents. “Not only is Michael a great wrestler, he is an all around great son. Michael carries a 3.5 GPA and is planning to graduate with a Core 40 with Technical Honors Diploma. He works part time during the school year and full time during the summer. What a joy it has been to not only watch him try, but then to see him succeed. Michael is an inspiration to many, and to us he is a blessing. We could not be more proud to be his parents”.
Michael recalls the first time he wrestled in the 7th grade by saying, “With being the new kid and not having any experience with wrestling, I felt I had something to prove. I had great coaches who took the time to teach me the moves which helped me have a great first year”.
Cary House, head wrestling coach at Anderson High School for the past 17 years, has been coaching Michael for the past 3 years.
“I never had any concerns with Michael wrestling as an amputee”, said House. “I had watched him wrestle in Junior High and could see his potential. He is lightening fast, has exceptional balance, and is explosive from the up position. When Michael’s opponents step on to the mat, their initial reaction is to look at their coach as if to ask, “What do I do?”
Cary House went on to say, “In the three years as his coach, I have yet to find anything that Mike cannot do with the rest of his team. His drive and determination is at an adult level and he does not complain, ever”.
Michael currently wrestles in the 120 lb weight class as a Junior for the Anderson High School Indians. To date, his accolades include:
• 1st Place & MVP – Tipton County Invitational – 8th Grade – 115 lbs • Regional Qualifier & MVP – Anderson High School – Freshman – 113 lbs • Team MVP, Most Wins, Most Take Downs, Most Team Points – Sophomore – 120 lbs • Total Win/Loss Record of 80-29
“It is indescribable how it felt to win those awards”, says Michael. “It made me more determined to keeping doing what I love to do!”
“My prosthetist was very helpful when I would break a part of my prosthesis that was made by another company”, says Michael. “After several incidents, he spoke with my parents and asked if he could come up with a plan for a more suitable prosthetic that would fit my very active lifestyle. He was very understanding of my situation and very flexible to see me any time I’m having an issue. He’s an all around great guy and I love having him there for me”.
“To me, I don’t notice a difference wrestling as an amputee”, stated Michael. “I don’t feel that I have a disadvantage or advantage either way. I compensate by leveraging my upper body. When life gives you a challenge, show everyone you have the strength to overcome it. Some people may look at me like I’m at a disadvantage, but I look at it like I can and will do anything everyone else does. I’ve never let being an amputee stop me from trying something. Always surround yourself with a good family and friend support team and you will be anything you strive to be. Go big or go home. Plan as though you will live forever, live as though you will die tomorrow”.
Photos courtesy of Chuck Bennett/VYPE Magazine (Central Indiana)