OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - An East Bay high school student who was paralyzed during a wrestling match last month spoke to friends and supporters Saturday morning during the opening ceremony of a wrestling championship in Martinez.
Ryan Joseph, 16, is being treated at a Colorado hospital that specializes in spinal injuries, but friends and supporters set up a Skype session with him before they took to the mat. Joseph addressed them during the opening ceremony of the Diablo Athletic League wrestling championship at Alhambra High School in Martinez.
Jim Keck, Athletic Director at College Park High School, reports progress from the Denver hospital. He said Friday that Joseph was on day six of unassisted breathing and had his first solid meal. A hearty one, too: Reuben sandwich, French fries and a coke.
Joseph was on the junior varsity lacrosse and wrestling teams at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill. During a wrestling match on Jan. 10 he suffered a severe injury to his spinal cord that left him paralyzed from the neck down.
The community has since rallied around Joseph and his family. From a Walnut Creek high school having a “purple out” to a Warriors representative delivering a championship ring and signed Andre Iguodala basketball, Local schools, professional sports organizations and wrestling teams across the country have shown support.
A fundraiser was held at College Park earlier this month and an estimated 600 people attended. Available were baked goods, a pasta dinner, raffle tickets and T-shirts. Organizers held the event in hopes of raising $50,000 to help Joseph’s family buy a wheelchair-accessible van.
If you’re interested in providing a donation, the family asked for donations be sent to:
The Joseph Family
C/O Mike Halket
PO Box 2122
Dublin, CA 94568
There is also a GoFundMe set up for Joseph.