Bethea, Brooks, Garnett, and others join DeMasi and MMF; look to "Pin Muscle Disease" this season
WRESTLERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY DEDICATE THEIR MATCHES TO THOSE WHO LOSE THEIR ABILITY TO WALK, TALK, SWALLOW, AND BREATHE
TRENTON, NJ - “It all started just eight years ago, when I was a senior at St. Marks High School in Wilmington, DE. I laid on my back, in a hospital bed, unable to walk, unable to talk, unable to swallow, and unable to breathe, virtually paralyzed from head to toe.”
– Rob DeMasi, Founder and President of the Muscle Movement Foundation.
Imagine something as simple as breathing, something that we all take for granted, being as hard as pinning the heavyweight champion of the world. Imagine being an elite athlete, a nationally recognized wrestling phenom, on your way to becoming a Division I collegiate wrestler, and the above happens, shattering all those hopes and dreams. That was the world Rob DeMasi lived during his senior year in high school. DeMasi was misdiagnosed numerous times, throughout high school, as doctors told him all of these symptoms were just in his head. Because of DeMasi’s elite athleticism and strength it was harder for doctors to include muscle disease as a possibility for Rob. It wasn’t until he laid in that hospital bed, his mother, Joyce, by his side, that his family doctor, who visited Rob, was able to tip the specialists to what she thought was ailing Rob.
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is a neuromuscular autoimmune disease that causes fluctuating weakness in the voluntary muscle groups, but can result in extreme muscular fatigue, weakness, and paralysis. Finally, DeMasi and his family had an answer to his, three and a half year, misdiagnosed nightmare and it was time to "Pin MG" like it was his opponent on the mat.
After undergoing surgery and receiving proper medication, at Johns Hopkins Hospital, DeMasi fought his way back to a respectable athletic level and suited up on the football field for a season at Delaware Valley University. After accomplishing a childhood goal, playing a collegiate sport, DeMasi was forced, by the symptomatic return of the disease, to focus his attention back to a scary place in his life that molded him.
Rob DeMasi began the Muscle Movement Foundation with the idea of uniting the communities of athletics and fitness to fight neuromuscular disease. The message that DeMasi delivers to all the teams that support MMF is clear, use the gift of healthy muscles to compete at your highest level every time you take the field, mat, or court because some people do not have that wonderful opportunity. DeMasi has teamed up with high school and college athletic programs to support a local “Muscle Champion” in their fight to conquer their disease. A “Muscle Champion” is defined by MMF, as an individual living and refusing to lose to muscle disease. These Champions are highlighted at every sporting event of their partnered teams.
MMF has especially had a connection to wrestling. This year will mark the 3rd consecutive season for the University of Maryland and Edinboro University programs in joining MMF’s cause for raising awareness and contributing to “Pin Muscle Disease.” The two programs will also host a Muscle Movement Foundation “Pin Muscle Disease” match. University of Buffalo, North Dakota State University, and George Mason University also plan to join the MMF, wrestling to “Pin Muscle Disease.” Two years ago, national powerhouse University of Iowa partnered with the MMF, specifically because of fellow St. Marks alumnus, Bobby Telford. During that season, fellow Hawkeye wrestler, Sam Brooks, was introduced to Rob DeMasi and MMF. Sam was coached in high school by Mike Powell, at Oak Park and River Forest High School. OPRF wrestling team has joined MMF each of the past three seasons. Coach Powell is a fellow “Muscle Champion” and was an All-American wrestler from the University of Indiana. Because of these connections, Sam Brooks has decided to join as an official MMF advocate this season to help “Pin Muscle Disease". Sam will take a lead role, leading his University of Iowa Wrestling Team in a "Pin Muscle Disease" community service learning project with MMF this season. These prestigious wrestling teams continue to lay the foundation for “Pin Muscle Disease,” by inspiring youth, high school, and additional college teams to become involved. Youth, club, high school, and college wrestlers will all be a crucial part in helping “Pin Muscle Disease” this upcoming season.
As you can see the Muscle Movement Foundation is very active in the wrestling community, and they have more good news to spread. MMF’s most recent committed advocates are those that Founder and President, Rob DeMasi is really excited to have on board. Former Virginia Tech NCAA All-American, 3X ACC Champion, and current North Dakota State University Assistant Coach, Jarrod Garnett, has taken initiative in joining the MMF as an official advocate. Jarrod grew up wrestling with DeMasi and wanted to ensure he advances his NDSU wrestlers to the next level on the mat, and in life. Joining the MMF creates an avenue for Garnett to accomplish that, while taking a stand for DeMasi and over one million Americans.
Former University of Pennsylvania wrestling standout and current George Mason University Assistant Coach, Canaan Bethea, has also joined as an official advocate to help “Pin Muscle Disease.” Click the following link to listen to Bethea's message: Bethea's message. This past October Bethea, and co-founder Dr. Mark McLaughlin, invited, MMF Founder and President, Rob DeMasi, to their local youth wrestling camp, “Beat the Streets”, in Bethea's hometown of Trenton, NJ. Click the following link to listen to DeMasi deliver the MMF message at the Beat the Streets Kyle Snyder Wrestling Clinic: DeMasi's message. The wrestling club is designed to teach underprivileged kids discipline and lifelong skills through the sport of wrestling, while developing their wrestling skills. Beat the Streets Trenton’s goal was to introduce them to the sport that structured Bethea, DeMasi, and other contributors to the camp like NWCA & Intermat Wrestling Coach of the Year (2015), Tom Ryan, and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, Kyle Snyder.
DeMasi and Bethea once wrestled in a regional final match, in which DeMasi won, before Rob was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. The two reconnected this year and when Canaan heard about MMF, he was all in. Bethea was a standout at Penn qualifying for the NCAA National Championships three times. Canaan Bethea has been working with the “Beat the Streets” wrestling camps for years and this most recent one was run by wrestling royalty, Kyle Snyder and Tom Ryan.
What isn’t there to say about Kyle Snyder, he was 179-0 in high school, and over the past calendar year he’s become a Pan American champion, youngest American to win a World championship, won a NCAA title, and he won Gold in the Rio Olympics. Accompanied by his collegiate coach at Ohio State, Tom Ryan, the youth of Trenton, NJ learned from some the best at this camp.
“This is very important to be out here in Trenton this weekend,” DeMasi told reporters at the camp, “I am taking a stand for over one million Americans that are fighting muscle debilitating diseases, and most importantly, if I can inspire any wrestler to embrace this opportunity to win on and off the wrestling mat, that is truly something special.”
If you are a coach, wrestler, or parent who would to begin your journey to help “Pin Muscle Disease”, click the following link: Wrestle with a Purpose to Pin Muscle Disease!
By: Pat Garyantes (email@example.com)
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