COOS BAY — The end of the wrestling season left a very sour taste in Tandy Martin’s mouth, not to mention a horrible pain in his arm.
The Marshfield senior entered the season with a chance to become a four-time state placer and visions of being a state champion.
But late in the season he suffered a dislocated arm during a match that became much worse.
Martin made an impressive comeback to qualify for state and even won his first match in Portland, basically wrestling with one arm, before the task became too difficult and he was eliminated.
Now Martin has something positive to look forward. He has signed with Eastern Oregon University in La Grande to continue his wrestling career.
“I’m really excited, especially with how my senior year ended,” Martin said. “That’s a big plus, looking forward to the future and knowing I still have an opportunity.”
He’s got a lot of work to do to get back to that point, though.
When Martin’s arm was dislocated, he shredded both the radial collateral ligament and ulnar collateral ligament and needs surgery on both — the latter the famed Tommy John surgery — to be able to use his arm properly again.
He will have a tendon taken out of his wrist and another taken out of his leg to repair his arm.
The good news is, as bad as that surgery sounds, after proper rehabilitation Martin’s arm should be good as new.
“I don’t think it’s really going to hinder me,” he said. “Six months after my surgery, I will be back to 100 percent — at least that’s what my doctor said.”
Martin said aside from minor dings in football or wrestling, this is the first injury he’s suffered in a long sports career. He’s mentally preparing for recovery, whenever he can have the surgery.
“I know I am going to have to be doing a lot of physical therapy,” he said. “I’ve talked to my coaches (at Eastern Oregon). They have really good trainers. They understand how to deal with this.”
Knowing he a future in the sport is driving him to stay positive.
“From my freshman year, I knew I wanted to wrestle in college,” he said. “I love football, but wrestling is in your hands 90 percent of the time, what you do (determines your success).
“Looking forward, I know I can do more. I have a lot more to accomplish. That’s what’s pushing me. Especially after I got it taken away from me (this year).”
Martin envisions being an All-American or winning a conference title for Eastern Oregon.
The school, he said, is an ideal fit.
He grew up in Montana until moving to the South Coast four years ago, and La Grande is similar in a lot of ways.
“It’s super mountainy,” he said. “There’s a lot to do. There’s a lot of hunting opportunity.”
Plus, Martin said, Eastern Oregon has a good nursing program through Oregon Health Sciences University, which is what he has been planning to study.
“And I really like their coach,” he added.
Since in-school learning was canceled by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Martin has been trying to adjust to on-line learning. He’s taking five college courses. His first week back to classes, and his first week exclusively on-line, he had an anatomy test, which he said was tough.
“It’s a big challenge, but I’m sure everybody will adjust,” Martin said.
With his college plans lined out and a positive injury outlook after surgery, he is looking forward.
“I’m really excited,” he said.