Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Ex-City star deals with end of career
By Andy Hamilton
Iowa City Press-Citizen
In some ways, Monday was a little bit like old times for Kyle Anson.
He spent the morning working with up-and-coming wrestlers at the same City High youth camp that he attended for years -- the camp where he learned some of the basic skills that provided him with three state titles and a full-ride scholarship to Northern Iowa.
"I'm helping out the kids," Anson said. "I'm not really doing anything."
Anson, 20, is trying to come to grips with not being able to do the things he once could on the wrestling mat. He's stepping away from wrestling and leaving Northern Iowa after sustaining six concussions in a three-year span.
The most recent came in April during a freestyle workout when he knocked heads with teammate Trevor Kittleson.
"It just gets easier and easier to get (concussions) as you go on," Anson said. "This last one I had, I guess I barely got hit and I was out. They said we shot in at the same time and I just face-planted in the mat after that."
Anson said he went to see a neurologist in April in Cedar Falls and CT scans revealed a cyst on his brain. He recently decided to enroll at Iowa to be closer to his family.
"There's a part of me that just wanted to say screw it and keep wrestling because I don't really know what else to do," he said. "But you've got to think about your future and all that. Twenty years down the road I want to be normal, have a normal life and be able to work because wrestling is such a small part of everyone's life, really. You can't go pro or anything like that, so you've got to look at all the different angles of it. But it was really tough. It's still pretty tough."
During his time with the Little Hawks, Anson became one of the most accomplished wrestlers to come through Eastern Iowa in recent history. He compiled a 164-9 career record for City, winning a state title as a 119-pound freshman, placing third as a sophomore and then winning titles during his final two seasons at City.
He went 26-13 this past season for the Panthers and was named the Western Wrestling Conference's freshman of the year. He qualified for the NCAA Tournament at 133 pounds, moving up from 125 in January after a mid-season kidney infection.
"It's going to be hard to adjust," Anson said. "I don't know what I'm going to do. (City) coach (Brad) Smith asked me how it would feel helping out with the high school (team). But I'm not even sure how long it will be until I could do anything like that. It would be hard not to be hands-on. I imagine I'd just be yelling out orders. But I'd definitely like to be around wrestling somehow because I haven't done much else in my life except wrestle."
Anson said he has been dealing with "constant headaches all day" for the past two months. Nonetheless, he said he still contemplated continuing his wrestling career until late-May. That's when he blacked out during a run in Cedar Falls.
"I was jogging, not very hard for me at least," he said. "I woke up and some guy was talking to me. I had a huge scrape on face, and I was all bloody. It really freaked me out. I don't want to be doing normal activities for the rest of my life and keep blacking out like that."
Reach Andy Hamilton at 339-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.