By Nick Sestanovich
For the past few weeks, Benicia High School has been raising money fora severely injured wrestler from Pleasant Hill.
On Jan. 10, College Park High School sophomore Ryan Joseph sufferedan injury to his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the neck downand affecting his ability to breathe and speak on his own. He wastransferred to John Muir Medical Center’s trauma department andrecently moved over to Craig Hospital in Colorado, where he isreceiving specialized treatment. As of his most recent prognosis, hehas regained the ability to speak and has practiced breathing withouta ventilator.
Friends of Joseph established a GoFundMe page to help his family payfor medical expenses, rehabilitation and accessibility. The campaignhas raised more than $183,000, and nearby high schools, includingBenicia High, have found ways to support Joseph and his family.Craig Holden, Benicia High’s athletic director, said he had becomeaware of Joseph’s story through word of mouth, namely Facebook postsand at a meeting for athletic directors in the North Coast Section,the league which College Park High competes in and which Benicia Highis moving to next year. The next day, on Jan. 18, Benicia High wasgoing to have a dual wrestling match against Fairfield High School,and the athletics department decided it would be a good opportunity tosupport Joseph.