PLEASANT HILL, Calif. (KTVU) -
A 16-year-old Pleasant Hill athlete who comes from a family of wrestlers is paralyzed from the neck down after a spinal cord injury he suffered during a wrestling match, College Park High School posted on the school’s website.
Ryan Joseph, was injured Jan. 10 during a junior varsity wrestling match and now requires help breathing, according to Athletic Director Jim Keck. He is being treated at the John Muir Trauma intensive care unit in Walnut Creek with a C4 spinal cord injury.
Joseph has undergone three surgeries and is breathing with assistance, but is in good spirits. Keck said he is not allowed visitors at this time.
“In 33 years of me doing this, I’ve never seen something like this, ever,” Keck said. “It was not an illegal move. It was not done with any type of malice. It was something I think when most people in the stands saw it happen, they didn’t think much of it.”
Keck calls it a "fluke" accident.
The family hopes to take Joseph to a treatment center in Denver, Co. It's the same facility were San Ramon Valley High School football player Jake Javier was treated after he was paralyzed from the neck down following a freak accident in 2016 at a graduation party.
The life changing accident has the Joseph family facing similar challenges.
“They’ve got to go to Denver, stay there, have the family housed. The home will have to be remodeled,” Keck said. “We’ve heard from contractors who want to help with that. The wall will have to be expanded. They’ll need a van.”
Ryan is a first-year JV wrestler who weighs 160 pounds and was captain of the lacrosse team. His father, Tom Joseph, coached at De La Salle High School and his uncle, Mike Halket, was a wrestling coach at Dublin High School. His mother, Kirstin Joseph, is a UC Berkley alum and his sister is an eighth grader at Pleasant Hill Elementary School.
A GoFundMe account for Ryan raised more than $20,000 as of Tuesday morning.
Lisa Fernandez and Cristina Rendon contributed to this report