It’s been a year, and the wrestling world that Sean Hussey knew is just starting to come back to the Cascade Christian High junior.
Hussey’s right knee doesn’t bother him so much anymore. He tries not to think about it anymore — just put the past behind him and move forward. But how could he after all the months he endured?
It’s been a year since that day at a league meet last January when Hussey’s season was derailed.
“I just tried to roll towards my right side, but my opponent went with me with my (right) leg stuck underneath us,” Hussey recalled. “I felt it right away.”
Right at the start of the new year, Hussey’s outlook was bleak as the junior suffered a torn lateral meniscus ligament in his right knee.
“It kind of got mangled up,” he said.
He didn’t step on a mat during the summer, and he didn’t start wrestling again until about the end of November.
Cascade Christian coach Chris DiCugno
Even with the injury, Hussey continued wrestling for Cascade Christian. All through January and into February last year, he pushed on because nothing was going to stop the junior of completing his quest. It was only a little pain to deal with.
For a time.
As the season dragged on, so did Hussey’s pain in his knee. By the time Cascade Christian was getting ready for the district meet, Hussey was calling it quits for the year. It was too much.
“I think (late) January is when I started to notice the pain … so I opted to take the time to heal,” Hussey said. “I had to heal up, so I had some surgery on it and they were able to repair it.”
By choosing surgery, Hussey and his family made a decision with many unknowns. Was he going to be ready by the start of this season? Would he ever be back at full strength?
And how would his knee react in that moment, tied up with another wrestler on the mat?
I was concerned when I wrestled my first match, but now it’s not something I worry about ... I came back fully healthy and ready … No, I don’t really worry about (my knee) when I wrestle.
These were some of the many questions that ran through the junior’s head during the offseason. And it was a long offseason for Hussey, who had little to do besides heal.
“He didn’t step on a mat during the summer, and he didn’t start wrestling again until about the end of November,” Cascade Christian coach Chris DiCugno said.
Hussey was fine physically when he began this season. The months of rehabilitation made sure his knee was ready for the start of the season. But it wasn’t, because nothing can truly prepare a person for wrestling without them going through it all. Nothing is quite like the feeling and exhaustion of a bout between two gladiators.
“It was tiring at first because I was away for so long,” Hussey said. “Physically I felt strong … I didn’t have my endurance all the way back yet.”
Hussey’s return was an awakening for the junior.
After months of toiling with rehabilitation, his season comeback felt more like a restart at times as he worked to get back to the point he was last year.
A year ago, Hussey was looking at the Mat Classic XXVII at the Tacoma Dome; this year he’s just trying to get back to himself on the mat.
“He still has some ways to go, but he’s getting healthier and stronger out each week. And he’s been working hard to come back,” DiCugno said.
With months of wrestling behind him since his return, Hussey just wants to move on from the past. He no longer worries about his right knee on a day-to-day basis.
And during his matches, that mental block was never really there to begin with.
“I was concerned when I wrestled my first match, but now it’s not something I worry about,” Hussey said. “I came back fully healthy and ready.”
As Hussey maneuvers through the rest of the season, he’s honing his sights right back at the Dome, ready to complete his quest from a year ago. The past is behind him, it’s time to keep moving forward.
“I can’t worry about not being there (at the Tacoma Dome) last year … I still believe I can get there and get a top-eight placement,” Hussey said.