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Brian Crutchmer is one of the top wrestlers in the state of Oklahoma. The Tulsa Union standout was Class 6A runner-up as a sophomore and junior at 135 pounds, and he is receiving interest from Nebraska, Old Dominion and North Carolina.
And he does all this with metal rods in his spine.
When Crutchmer was 4 years old, he had a serious medical condition that showed up as a birth defect. It prevented him from walking and would require major surgery.
Doctors told the Crutchmer family that Brian wouldn?t walk again and definitely wouldn?t be able to play sports anymore.
They were wrong.
His dad, Tulsa Union wrestling coach Kevin Crutchmer, made him do workouts with his legs, and he walked again. Brian began playing soccer at age 7 and football at age 8, and he began wrestling in the 6th grade with his younger brother Kyle.
Crutchmer now wrestles with metal rods in his spine that were placed there to combat his condition and keep fluid flowing through his spine, but he doesn?t let it faze him on the mat.
?It hurts every once in a while, but I don?t worry about my back.? Crutchmer said.
He is grateful for everything he has been able to accomplish but hasn?t reached his goal: to be better than his brother, Kyle Crutchmer.
Kyle is the 6A state champion at 171 pounds, and he beat OSU signee and two-time state champion Zach Skates of Broken Arrow for that title.
Kyle has received offers from a number of schools, including OU, OSU and Maryland.
?I hope he is better than me ? he?s my brother I wish him the best and hope he does well in everything he does,? Kyle Crutchmer said.
Kevin Crutchmer has coached his sons since they began wrestling in the sixth grade, and they have been working in the family?s property management business.
?They?re both hard workers and both of them have been working for me for 8 years,? Kevin Crutchmer said. ?They appreciate the finer things in life through working with me.?
Crutchmer is an assistant for Team Oklahoma at Junior Nationals. He tries to play more of a dad role as the kids are preparing for college.
?Up until they were sophomores I coached them pretty heavy, but I listen to a lot of veteran coaches,? Kevin said. ?I kind of want to be more of a dad at this point. I let my assistant coaches put in more time with them and I got back in the dad role.?
Tony Cook is the head coach of Team Oklahoma at Junior Duals and is Locust Grove?s wrestling coach.
?Dealing with Brian is a dream,? Cook said. ?To see him have the success he has at the level he has makes you feel proud to work with a kid like that.
?Sometimes you have to back him off some. He?s always at ?full-go? but sometimes his back won?t allow him to. He?s a guy that won?t let you back him off.?
The brothers may have to separate when college comes as they are gaining interest from different schools, but they both want to stay close to home
?We would like to see them stay close so we could attend and see them,? Kevin Crutchmer said. ?But I?ve always told my boys I support their decision as long as it is an educated decision. I would like to see them together but I don?t think it will happen.?
Now the Crutchmers are playing the waiting game until Brian and Kyle both sign and start their new lives in college.
For Article by Tariq Lee, NEWSOK, The Oklahoman