Junior puts wrestling on hold


Antonio Madda

Junior Antonio Madda discovered he had COVID-19 in November.

Vinnie D'Alessandro, Guest Writer

Junior wrestler Antonio Madda had to stop wrestling for the rest of the season after getting COVID-19.

Doctors told Madda he developed a condition called Myocarditis, that he acquired from getting COVID, where his heart became inflamed and can’t function properly. He said, “When I had COVID, my body sent a bunch of white blood cells to my heart and they never left, so now I have a bunch of scar tissue around my heart that stops it from functioning properly.”

He admits that everyday tasks and responsibilities he loves have become more challenging because of all the scar tissue that surrounds his heart. He said, “Like something you were able to do so naturally before (like wrestling) now is harder, and it is more frustrating not being able to do the same things you once did.”

Doctors called Madda’s mom on the phone and told her the scar tissue will eventually go away, kind of like a scab that is healing; but right now, he has to be extremely careful with everything he does. “I have spent most of my time at home because I am not really allowed to go anywhere and I can’t workout because I can’t put stress on my heart because I could get a heart attack,” he said.

Madda acquired COVID before Thanksgiving, and he was able to return to wrestling for a short time. Then while at a wrestling tournament, his mother called him and said doctors recommend he no longer wrestle. He said, ”It was a lot of mixed emotions, and I honestly can’t even describe the feelings.

“I was angry, mad and sad, a lot of emotions went through my body and I was very upset knowing I was no longer able to do something I loved,” he said.

With being at home, he admits he has had a lot more free time to pick up new hobbies. He said, “I have found old things I used to do and am getting back into them. I try to stay positive by looking forward to what I can do once I’m out of this. I focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Madda admits that he’s found support from his family, too. “They helped take care of me when I had COVID, and they helped me recover and took care of everything that I had to do and were always there for support,” he said.

Mayfield wrestling coach Dwight Fritz was impacted by Madda’s departure from the team and felt a number of emotions. Fritz said, “[Madda] is a good guy with a good family that is very involved in wrestling. It is very important to get his health back.”

Fritz admits he’s been frustrated with how COVID has affected the team greatly as a whole. He said, “Last year we had no state tournament which affected everyone in the state of Ohio. This year we also had 15 kids not come out for the team because they had COVID; and, nine kids have had it this year, and two of those were starters who were not able to come back.”

Looking ahead, Madda said he expects to be back to wrestling next year as long as he’s recovered and can handle the cardio workouts.