Huntsville Wrestling Community Rallies Around Injured Wrestler and His Family


Hunter Garstin was injured in a wrestling tournament in Huntsville.

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A teen from Williamson County, Tenn. is recovering in Huntsville after receiving a severe spinal cord injury this weekend.

15-year-old Hunter Garstin was hurt during a wrestling tournament at Huntsville High.

Wrestling officials tell WHNT News 19 the injury is rare, and somewhat of a freak accident.

Wrestling is a demanding sport that requires much time and dedication from the athletes and their families.  As a result, there is a very tight knit community that has formed around the sport.

After Garstin was transported to Huntsville Hospital, boosters from Huntsville High sprang into action to help his family any way they could.

“We made arrangements for them to be taken care of the best we could, knowing that they’d be here for a while,” said Joe Demos, a Huntsville High wrestling booster.

Demos says he and other boosters needed to make sure Garstin’s family was cared for during this time.

“Any parent would if their own child were hurt, they’d want to know things were taken care of so everybody would have stepped up,” said Demos.

Not just in Huntsville, but back home also, Garstin’s friends and family are rallying around him.

“The Franklin community around where the high school is, Independence, has really stepped up, they’re doing a lot for Hunter,” said Demos.

The Williamson County Schools superintendent wrote a letter to the Huntsville wrestling community thanking them for the support of his student athlete.

“It meant a lot to me and it meant a lot to our organization,” said Fred Kemp, Alabama USA Wrestling Chairman.

No matter who Hunter Garstin was representing on the mat, he’s part of a much bigger picture.

“The wrestling community is a very close knit community, it’s a very demanding sport, it requires a lot of discipline and dedication so anybody that’s wrestled has the respect and is considered family,” said Demos.

“The people that you meet that have been in wrestling for years and years, they basically call it a family and i think this weekend is evidence of that,” Demos added.

Garstin’s family tells WHNT News 19 he was moved from the ICU unit of Huntsville Hospital to a regular room today.

They expect him to be ready to go to Atlanta later this week to start rehab.

A “Prayers for Hunter Garstin” Facebook page has also been created. Find that page by clicking here.

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