Young wrestler serves as inspiration to peers

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WEST VALLEY CITY -- If you've ever had trouble getting your kids to make their bed, this story is for you. If you've ever thought you don't have what it takes, or you just don't want to try, this story is for you as well.

As Alex Brotherson warmed up for his final wrestling match of the season, the 12-year-old from Valley Jr. High was hoping for his first win. Alex is an amazing athlete, especially considering this seventh-grader has no arms.

"It was a little hard at first, but then I started getting better and better," Alex said.

Alex was born in 1997, the youngest of three boys. His parents learned of his condition during an ultrasound.

"When we first seen it we were definitely shocked," his father Jeffrey said. "My first thoughts were, what do we do, how do we keep him up with everyone else?"

But that question quickly changed -- how does everyone else keep up with Alex?

"He climbed up on the bunk bed one day with his neck, and I thought, ‘Nothing's gonna stop Alex,'" his mom Jenny said.

"I just see other kids doing stuff that I can try, so that makes me want to try it and prove people wrong ... yes!" Alex said.

Proving people wrong is something Alex has done time and time again. By age three, he was writing, eating and using scissors with his toes. He dresses himself, combs his hair, even makes his bed. But when it came time for wrestling ... "I said, ‘Absolutely not because you're going to get killed," his mom said.

"I told Alex, ‘OK, but you need to take a fall.' I said, ‘If you can take your brother down and hold him for three seconds, you can wrestle.' It took a bit, he did it, so he's a wrestler," Jeffrey said.

"At first they said, ‘Wow, I can't believe he's wrestling. Then I started and they were impressed with me," Alex said.

Coach Erik Freeman knew teaching Alex would mean some new ideas.

"He has to use his body, use his weight, and he's gotta just have great balance, use his legs." Freeman said. "Every kid that's wrestled him is like, ‘You're a lot harder to wrestle than I thought."

Alex fought his hardest last Friday but lost his final match, finishing the season 0-4, but he'll be back for his eight-grade season.

"Alex is going to win by a lot of points. He'll get reversals, he'll get escapes, near falls, so I'm really excited to see him pin somebody," Jeffrey said.

Just don't tell Alex he can't, because that word has never been in his vocabulary.

Alex says his favorite sports is baseball. He puts the bat under his chin to hit, and he is his team's primary pinch runner.



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Kathy Aiken


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