They, alongside two other wrestling mates, were set upon by a grizzly while hiking outside Powell, Wyoming this past October 15. The bruin attacked Brady first, but Kendell immediately charged the bear to save his friend. Both young men would require significant medical attention and recovery, and through it all they’ve had one thought on their minds. And no, it’s not grizzly bears. It’s getting back out on the mat.
The 21-year-old is ready to get back to wrestling now that his facial and hand scars have healed. So is Kendell; his broken arm mended.
“I’m pushing myself 100 percent every day, and I’m going to be the best me I can when I get out there because I have the opportunity,” Brady tells Q2 News of Billings, Montana. It’s an opportunity he owes to the bravery of his friend.
“I really wouldn’t have the opportunity if Kendell didn’t jump in there,” Brady says. And on Friday evening, Brady put all his hard work to the test as he returned to the wrestling mat for a fierce match with North Idaho College. It’ll be different this year, however. Not because of the grizzly bear, but because Kendell is opting to use his redshirt and not compete this year. Instead, he’s focusing on getting Lowry into championship shape.
“I understood a long time ago that the best option was to probably not wrestle this year and get a full year next year,” Kendell tells Q2. “I kind of just focused everything towards him and we’re going to get him on the right path.”
“Ever since the bear, he’s been there,” Brady lauds. “All the way through, and it’s been awesome.”
So now, Brady wrestles for them both. But Kendell’s outlook has changed completely, too. “Even in life, you could be driving down the road and your car breaks down… That sucks, but it could be a whole lot worse. That’s kind of how my mindset has changed,” he says.
‘Just the idea that he’s out there and competing is miraculous‘
Even though Brady lost his return to the ring, he did so with an enormous smile. The winner is the 3rd ranked college wrestler in the country, and Brady – after surviving a grizzly bear attack – gave him a run for his money.
This is his last year to wrestle for Northwest before he graduates, too. And that was all the motivation he and head wrestling coach Jim Zeigler needed.
“I want him to have that opportunity. I feel like he’s coming back stronger, smarter, more prepared, and I think it was an awakening for those kids,” he offers. Zeigler admires the gusto of his students, regardless of the advice of their doctors.
“My doctor told me, ‘If you were my kid, I’d take a red shirt. I don’t know if I’d let you wrestle,'” Brady recalls. “And I said, ‘Well it’s kind of my last year.’”
“It’s a victory just to walk out there,” Coach Zeigler adds. “Like he said, even if he goes 0-4 he’s still going to have a smile on his face. Just the idea that he’s out there and competing is miraculous.”
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