In the sport of wrestling, athletes work out their entire bodies all at once.

Ask anyone who’s ever wrestled and they’ll tell you it’s a demanding and physical sport that requires both arm and leg strength.  

That’s if you have them.  We catch up with a young boy from Tea who’s fulfilling one of his dreams. 

When we last met Austin Schoppert at his house in Tea, he was jumping on the trampoline, shooting baskets and even playing video games.  But he also talked about how much he loved wrestling.  

But because Austin lost his arms and legs to bacterial meningitis eight years ago, playing with these figurines was about the most he could do when it came to body slams and half nelsons; so everyone thought.

Two times a week, Austin races up stairs to go wrestling practice.  He can’t wait to get to wrestling practice. 

You may remember, Austin told us in his first interview, he was going to go out for wrestling this year, which his dad said at the time he wasn’t going to stop him; because it might be a good learning experience. 

Don Jogensen: How is wrestling going for you? 
Austin: It’s awesome, it’s hard work. 

Austin admits wrestling is a lot harder than he thought, but his coach says that hard work is paying off. 

“There’s two things we tell all our wrestlers they control, their attitude and their effort.  He comes up with the best attitude and puts in a 100 percent effort all the time,” Tea’s president of youth wrestling Jeramie Eimers said. 

The president of youth wrestling Jeramie Eimers says Austin was always part of the Tea Titan wrestling team, but only from the sidelines as a fan, not a competitor. 

This year that all changed. 

“So when I saw his name on the registration form this year, that was pretty exciting to see that he was doing it himself and I had a new challenge in front of us to face,” Eimers said. 

Eimers accepted that challenge of trying to teach Austin wrestling moves, which would take some creativity since he doesn’t have any arms or legs. 

“Moves are named after our body limbs; single leg, double leg and other things. But we’ve figured out ways to use his chin and his head and his right arm, his balance and posture differences to try and be successful on the mat,” Eimers said.  “One thing that my wrestlers in the room who practiced with him comment on is they can’t believe how strong he is.” 

That strength and innovative training was about to be put to the test in Austin’s first ever wrestling tournament.  

A big crowd gathered inside the Tea High School to cheer on their favorite little wrestlers.  Before it got underway, Eimers took to the mat and microphone.  

He talked about what an inspiration Austin has been.  No matter how things turn out, he’s already won. 

Austin hadn’t even wrestled his first match and already got a standing ovation. 

Austin admitted he was nervous when they called his name to come out and wrestle.  

The first match didn’t go so well, he lost.  He wasn’t sad or heart broken, because he had pinned his hopes on something else; something that would mean more than winning a wrestling match. 

Don Jorgensen: Why did you want to go out for wrestling? 
Austin: Because I wanted to be in a sport with all my friends,” Austin said. 

And there you have it, a young boy who wants to be treated like everyone else and doing all he can to prove he is just like everyone else. 

“To me I want him to believe every time he steps on the mat, he has the opportunity to beat that other opponent just like the same mind set we want to have,” Eimers said.  “I’m just honored to be a part of it, and excited to see what he can accomplish not only this year, but years to come.  What do you think that’ll be?  You know he’ll determine that he’ll be the one who decides how far and how high he wants to go, anything is possible, he’s proven that already.” 

Austin went on to win his second match and lost his third.