PLEASANT HILL (KPIX 5) — There are few words to describe the courage College High School senior Ryan Joseph has displayed over the last two years.
He went from a promising prep wrestler to battling for his life after suffering a crippling back injury to an inspiration for his classmates who will graduate with him on Friday.
It was two years ago, during a wrestling match that Joseph suffered an injury that left him paralyzed..
Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic prematurely ended the wrestling season, Joseph came back to the same event where it all happened with a special message.
“I just can’t thank everybody here enough for all of the help you have given me and my family,” he said to the crowd that night.
Joseph was paralyzed from the neck down during a school wrestling meet, where he suffered a spinal cord injury. Doctors didn’t expect him to walk again, but now he is back on his feet proving anything is possible.
He spent two years at a rehab facility in Colorado with no complaining coming out of his mouth.
“Being bummed out doesn’t get anything done,” he told KPIX 5 in January.
Joseph was just happy to be back home and back at College High for his senior year. Unfortunately, it is not ending how he may have envisioned it. The school has been shuttered since March, students forced to learn remotely, isolated from each other because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Friday’s ceremonies will be adjusted to adhere to local social distancing, shelter in place standards. There will be no crowd at the football field, no final hugs with classmates.
But one thing is guaranteed, Joseph will appear at the modified ceremony Friday morning with a smile on his face.
He told KPIX 5 back in January, his plan was to go to Diablo Valley College for the next stage of his education.