WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Cooper Gilham is a 20-year-old wrestler at Lycoming College. He is currently in his sophomore year and holds a 10-4 record.
However, his biggest win this year was just getting back on the mat. His freshman season ended before it even started after he suffered a stroke in October of 2021 while doing homework in his room.
"I felt my right side of my body just go completely numb. At first, I thought it was weird that it was my whole right side, but then I got off my bed and stumbled a little bit," he recalled.
"We were in disbelief, and we were scared. We needed to get him looked at quickly, and that's what we did. We got him out of here as quick as we could," said Roger Crebs, the head wrestling coach at the college.
He was rushed to the hospital. According to Gilham, doctors are still unsure of what caused the stroke.
"I was shocked by it. I was sitting there in the wheelchair after being admitted to the ER, and I had no emotion. I was like, 'Wow, I am 19 years old, and I had a stroke,'" he added.
His wrestling career was in doubt, but you couldn't tell him that. Gilham said his only goal was to get back out on the mat.
"At the time, I wanted to get back literally the next day. I wanted to be back on the mat. I was doing nothing in a hospital bed, and it was kind of boring," Gilham said.
Fast forward just a year later, and Gilham has been cleared to wrestle. Newswatch 16 was there to see him win his match against Cortland.
"He is doing really well. He is ahead of schedule of where we thought he would be at this time after going through what he went through last year. We are very happy with him," added Crebs.
Gilham hopes to compete for a spot in the team's varsity wrestling lineup next year.
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