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PizDoff
1/31/2007 11:36pm,
Young man uses karate to battle disability
Radio station recognized student as 'Kid Who Makes Magic'
BY TOM CAIAZZA
Staff Writer

METUCHEN - They call him the mayor of Metuchen High.

Wesley Brooks, a gregarious 15-year-old sophomore, is a student assistant for the Metuchen High School football team, an honor student and former equestrian enthuiast.

He is no stranger to the limelight, recently giving a stirring speech at a Metuchen High pep rally, and for the last two and a half years he has grown fond of karate.

Wesley Brooks has cerebral palsy, and a mean high kick.

Wesley was born three months premature on the way to the hospital. Weighing in at less than a pound, doctors gave Wesley a 75 percent chance of survival.

"He's overcome a great deal of odds," his mother, Christine Brooks, said.

He has a condition known as retinapathy, where his retina is dangerously close to detachment. Because of this and his cerebral palsy, Wesley was unable to participate in any contact sports in school.

When his younger brother began to take karate lessons in the summer of 2004, Wesley thought it an opportunity to conquer yet another adversity.

"I really didn't know what to expect," Wesley said when he began taking lessons at the Black Belt Institute. "I thought, 'Everybody is kicking average - uh, oh.' "

But Wesley persevered. After learning the basics, thanks to the help of Master Robert Matland and the staff of the Black Belt Institute, Wesley has progressed to the level of red belt and his kicking ability, which was almost non-existent when he started, has greatly improved.

Wesley sees the difference in himself.

"I feel a lot more confident," Wesley said. "I can manage a lot better."

Seven years ago, Wesley had to relearn how to walk after a radical surgery to correct his legs. Before the surgery, his knees curved in and nearly touched one another. The surgery required the breaking and resetting of his legs. Within three months of physical therapy, Wesley wowed doctors by being able to use his crutches.

These hardships have instilled in Wesley a desire for advocacy, speaking up for himself and others like him.

That is why Wesley mentors other students with disabilities and helps them cope with the hardships that Wesley has already overcome.

He recently took a second-grader with cerebral palsy through a tour of his former school to show the student how to get around and learn how to manage for herself.

"He was like that from a little kid," his mom said, "speaking up for himself. If you don't speak up for yourself, you're not gonna get it."

Wesley said that helping others be independent and an advocate for themselves has had an effect on him.

"I feel good about it because it might limit some of what their anxieties are, so they are prepared for what might come," Wesley said.

Wesley's mind-set has not gone unnoticed by the people around him.

When Metuchen High School football coach Bob Olmer approached Wesley to come help with the team, he did not know what to expect. He had to learn the ins and outs of the game, and be able to help the team during practice and games.

Wesley began motivational speaking during practices, helping the team to what is arguably their best season yet, finishing 8-2 and making it to the second round of the Central Jersey Group II tournament - further than any Metuchen team in history.

http://ems.gmnews.com/news/2007/0131/Sports/015.html

That's pretty cool, would his eyes fall out if he took a hit hard!?!?

patfromlogan
2/01/2007 12:24am,
We had a guy in Wado who was cp and brown training for black last I saw. He trained really hard and one time after class he was bugging sempai to spar and sempai didn't want to and he kept bugging him until sempai said, "what goes?" And the cp guy said, "Up to knock out?" And so they sparred, up to knock out - every clash ending slam-bam, subs, chokes, etc.. but no KO's.

Diesel_Claus
2/04/2007 9:48am,
That's pretty cool, would his eyes fall out if he took a hit hard!?!?


Good job pizdoff. YOur a big man now that you can make fun of someone that has a birth defect. Mabye instead of judging him you should judge yourself, and try to be thankfull that you don't have that problem. I hope you don't believe in karma.....otherwise you are screwed.

TheBigSwede
2/12/2007 1:24pm,
Good job pizdoff. YOur a big man now that you can make fun of someone that has a birth defect. Mabye instead of judging him you should judge yourself, and try to be thankfull that you don't have that problem. I hope you don't believe in karma.....otherwise you are screwed.

Retinapathy does make the retina go loose if hit sufficiently hard on the head. I just don't see why you look so hard to choose the worst possible interpretation of what "That's pretty cool" refers to. Cool down, have a beer, be happy and stuff.

X_plosion
2/14/2007 12:59am,
Good on the kid.

I personally think he's flirting with disaster everytime he spars, but who knows? Even Sugar Ray Leonard went back to Boxing professionally after some trouble with his retinas.

Hoping the kid has more success.