Gibson overcomes injuries to return to wrestling with a VENGEANCE

Matthew Smith | Sports Editor

Gibson competes against a Lakota West opponent in a January match.

Senior wrestler Brock Gibson is back on the mat after being pinned down by injuries. 

Gibson has been a varsity wrestler since his freshman year, but due to injuries, this is the first season he has been able to be a key contributor to the team. 

Going into his sophomore season, Gibson expected to be a big part for Mason before tearing his labrum in his shoulder. He was forced to miss the entire season, but despite the tear, Gibson opted to not get surgery and only rehab. 

Returning for his junior year after extensive rehab, another devastating shoulder injury forced Gibson to miss the 2019-20 season. This time around Gibson didn’t have much of a choice – he would need to get surgery to repair the labrum. Right after the injury, Gibson said that there was a time when he thought he may never return to the mat. 

“Sophomore year I tore my labrum in my shoulder, and we chose not to operate on it and rehab it back to full strength. When my junior year came around, in my first match of the year, I dislocated [the shoulder] and tore the labrum even more,” Gibson said. “At this point, I thought my career might be done for good. I ended up getting surgery and continued more therapy afterward.”

Although at first Gibson was unsure if he would be back to varsity wrestling, Gibson has shattered any doubts that he would be back. Finally able to wrestle for an entire season, Gibson finished first in the Greater Miami Conference (GMC) in the 120 pound weight class with 18 wins. Gibson also owns a weight class leading 10 pins. Head wrestling coach Nicholas Maffey said he is proud of how well Gibson has performed this season.

“Brock Gibson is a student-athlete who has had tough luck the last two seasons and is now maximizing his opportunity to compete,” Maffey said. “Brock has been with the Mason Wrestling program from an early age and was a guy many were excited to see him develop into what we are seeing now.”

During Gibson’s time away from wrestling, he itched to return to the mat, and the adversity he has had to deal with grew into determination. Gibson said that observing from the sideline the last two years only makes his success that much more fulfilling.

“It means a lot to be such a big contributor to the GMC title this year because I have spent my last 2 years watching,” Gibson said. “I spent the whole time telling myself ‘I should be out there winning for my people and most importantly, making people remember my name.’”

While Gibson has had plenty of success in his return, it doesn’t change his injury history. One struggle Gibson experiences is trying to fully gain back his strength even in the midst of the season. On top of the physical aspect, Gibson said he also deals with the mental aspect of attempting to trust his shoulder on the mat.

“There were and still are fears of repeating the injury,” Gibson said. “This year I have made it my goal to pin my opponent and get off the mat as quickly as possible because my shoulder gets tired so fast and that is when it gets weak. My coaches make me do shoulder therapy exercises every day as well before practice to continue strengthening the shoulder.”

Knowing that at any second an injury could be looming around the corner, Gibson has cherished every second of his senior season. Not taking a single thing for granted, Maffey said that this mindset of Gibson’s is evident at all times.

“[Gibson] makes it known to the staff and team, almost daily, his gratitude for the opportunity to wrestle,” Maffey said. “Whether a grueling practice, tough match or the bus ride with the boys, Brock has talked about taking every opportunity. There’s no doubt he will exhaust his gas tank each match.”

Gibson has chosen not to continue his wrestling career in college, which pushes him to finish out this season with everything he has left. In the waning stages of the season, Gibson said that despite the unfortunate injuries he has suffered, he’s thankful for the lessons they have taught him.

“My biggest take away from these injuries is now knowing that you need to go to the max and push yourself as much as possible,” Gibson said. “If you want something, go get it. Nobody said it would come easy, it all just depends on how badly you want it.”