Waking up to strong support: Austin wrestler is making a recovery

Published 7:57 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The last month played out a lot like a nightmare for Austin sophomore Gavin Brady. But due to the support of the Austin Packer wrestling family, he’s now waking up to some positivity.

Brady was anticipating wrestling for the Packers back in early November when he was involved in a car accident that left him hospitalized at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He was left with two skull fractures, two brain bleeds and a broken leg. His health and wrestling career were in immediate doubt.

Austin head wrestling coach Jer Osgood said the team was extremely concerned about Gavin, especially when he had to go back to Mayo after returning home.

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“We were all in shock. We were very concerned,” Osgood said. “The next question was what could we do to help him?”

The Packer wrestling team visited Gavin in Rochester, where he lived with his grandparents for a stint after being released from the hospital and Gavin was on hand at last week’s inter-squad scrimmage.

Gavin Brady watches warm-ups for a recent inner squad scrimmage in Ove Berven Gym from mat-side. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

One of the first questions Gavin asked his mother Tarin Brady after the accident was whether or not he’d be able to wrestle this year. As it stands, he’s nowhere near ready to back on the mat this season and instead he’ll serve as the Packers manager. Gavin could be back on the mat for his junior season and he eventually wants to get back into MMA fighting, which he has been training for.

“He seems a lot happier when he’s around the team. He’s sad that he’s not going to wrestle this year and I was afraid that he was never going to wrestle again,” Tarin said. “The community has been awesome and the wrestling family has been really good to Gavin. It was scary. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for sure, but he’s getting back to his teenage self.”

Just three weeks after the accident, Gavin was on crutches walking around the Ove Berven Gym floor with his wrestling teammates. He said it was great to get out of the house and be close to the sport that he loves.

“At first my head hurt a lot, but it’s been pretty good lately,” Gavin said. “I’m really looking forward to being with the wrestling team this year as a manager. It kind of sucks that I can’t wrestle, but I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

Though Gavin Brady’s season may have been derailed by a November car accident, he made it back to the mat for a scrimmage recently, a big jump for an athlete who previously had been in the hospital with a brain bleed. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Gavin’s older brother Chance is a senior wrestler for the Packers and the two have grown up close. Chance and Gavin used to wrestle each other at a young age and Chance said seeing his brother in the hospital was a tough experience to go through.

“It’s affected me quite a bit,” Chance said. “When it first happened I was stunned, but the family’s been there for him and it’s going well now.”

Osgood said that he’s hoping the Packers can lift Gavin on his road to recovery and he credited his team for being a tight-knit group.

“I would hope that having a support system with good friends and good teammates would encourage a quicker recovery and a more positive outlook,” Osgood said. “What is really unique about this sport is we are a family who supports each other and we’re there for each other. It’s a prime example of when one of our brothers is in need, we’re there to help support them in any capacity. We’re here for him and he’ll always be part of our team no matter what.”

When Gavin returned to Austin he saw that the community had stepped up to help him out. The family raised funds through a gofundme page, and local businesses stepped up and held fund raisers as well.

“The community outreach has been great. I’d like to thank everybody that helped out. They’ve really helped out my family,” Gavin said.

Due to the recovery process, Gavin will have to be home schooled before he returns to the high school in the second semester, but he’s not feeling down at the moment. He has always been a determined kid according to his mother, and he’s certainly not going to back down now.

“Next year I’ll be back. I wish I could be wrestling tonight, but stuff happens,” Gavin said.

The Packers will wrestle at Northfield at 7 p.m.  Thursday.