DES MOINES, Iowa – Exactly one year ago, a high school wrestler named Isaiah Tatum was one of the best wrestlers in the nation and on the verge of a championship season.
Then with no warning, a horrific car accident changed everything.
Now, his journey has come full circle.
Isaiah had suffered a bruised lung, brain bruise on his frontal lobe, broken jaw, and a concussion.
While he was in a coma, doctors told his mother he would probably die or face life as a vegetable.
The doctors were wrong.
Not only did he pull through, just three weeks later, Isaiah was miraculously undergoing rehab at a medical center in his Illinois town.
Since doctors told him he’d never wrestle again, he had plenty of motivation.
A few months later, in March, Isaiah shocked his teammates by dropping by practice and letting them know just how far he’d come.
” It has just been overwhelming just because we’re a family, we’re not a team, we’re a family. I remember the day that I was able to come, mouth wired up and all, I was just able to smile, I couldn’t say hi, couldn’t nothing like that, for me to walk in the room and get a standing ovation, and just the tears, the claps and then wrestle in front of everybody because I was able to do the movement,” said Isaiah Tatum.
In April, he got the news he had been waiting for.
Doctors cleared him to resume the sport he loves, but it wasn’t easy.
“When I got cleared to start wrestling again, I had to re-teach myself everything I have ever learned since 6th grade. Just to get the mechanics down how to properly shoot,” Isaiah Tatum said.
Finally, this past weekend, Isaiah felt well enough to do it for real.
He accompanied his high school wrestling team to a tournament in Las Vegas.
Isaiah stepped on the mat to wrestle and complete his comeback.
He fell behind 7-3, and then fought back winning his match 11 to 9.
“I want to prove to everybody to not regret any opportunity you have, because I could have listened to the doctors, I could have given up, I could have listened to everybody tell me it was something I shouldn’t and can’t do, but with God it was possible and I did it,” said Isaiah.