By Trevor Lintz
GARRETT Butt stood on the mat pacing back and forth getting ready for a big day.
It was the quarterfinal match in one of the biggest tournaments of the year.
They tie up, a big turn of events is gearing up.
They’re going out of bounds. His knee goes under … snap!!
Every ligament in his knee tears.
Not just one…. every ligament.
For the former Archbishop Curley High School and current York College wrestler, the big stage is where he thrived. Going into the annual Mount Mat Madness Christmas tournament in late December 2019, it was his season. He was rolling.
I started off 8-0 that season,” Butt said. “I was on my way to another season qualifying for national preps.”
The whistle blew and right away a very aggressive Butt tied up with his opponent. Always being the underdog in matches, he was always looking to prove himself.
“I was the five seed going up against the four seed,” said Butt. “I went for a big throw. We both went out of bounds and my knee got caught under me and that was it. I mean he was strong. He was physical.”
The doctor figured this was only a short-term injury. But for Butt, that wasn’t the case. The doctor later that night told him he tore everything in his knee possible, and that he was going to be out for at least a year to a year and a half.
Being in a role like that having it stopped by such a tragedy is crushing and devastating, as any athlete will attest to.
“It was tough hearing my season was over,” Butt said. “Knowing big things were ahead for me.”
The recovery process is always that process every athlete despises. For Butt, that wasn’t the case. He had the drive and passion to get back out there. He actually recovered and progressed much faster than the doctors anticipated.
“I had a passion for wrestling,” Butt said. “I wasn’t going to let an injury like this stop me.”
The extensive time and commitment to the recovery process was an all-in effort for Butt. He went through more therapy and recovery than most would.
“I went through three months of therapy,” he said. “I had a surgery, another three months of therapy, another surgery, and another three months of therapy. Months of therapy trying to get my leg to straighten out. You want your leg to be 180 degrees. I could barely get past 100 degrees. They mentioned having to do a knee replacement, which at my age wasn’t an option.”
The doctor, and especially Butt’s dad, Tim, really saw significant progress in this process. The doctor was even impressed with how quickly he recovered because he nearly cut the time in half.
Said Tim, “He had the drive to get back on the mat and be the best version of himself. He did not disappoint.”
Although the significant time missed on the mat would have set back most people or turned them in the direction of “hanging up the cleats” this wasn’t the case for Butt. He took this setback and ran with it, landing him at York College of Pennsylvania wrestling at the 184-pound spot.
“It’s not about what happened,” Butt said. “It’s about how I recovered.”
While Butt did recover and land himself a big accomplishment as a college wrestler ,he had to adjust his style of wrestling with his knee not being like it was. This took time and many training sessions.
“I didn’t think ‘hey, I’m going to come back and be the same wrestler,’” he said. “ But I’m still performing at a high level at the college level.”
Teammate Jared Bair said, “Garrett has made significant progress on and off the mat. He “always has that fire in him.”
So far in Butt’s career he hasn’t had the success he had hoped for but he took over the starting spot at 184 pounds toward the end of the season. He wrestled off a teammate for the regional tournament starting spot and though it didn’t go the way he had hoped, it’s a step in the right direction toward his goals.
“Many would have folded and quit,” Tim Butt said. “Garrett worked twice as hard to get back to where he was. The story has not been fully written but based on his early response, I can’t wait to see how his story ends.”
Trevor Lintz is a sophomore majoring in Sports Management.