Penn State junior Brady Berge announced today that he will be graduating and stepping away from competitive wrestling.
Berge has battled concussions in his career. He qualified for the NCAA Championships a couple of weeks ago at 157 pounds and went 2-1, but an undisclosed injury prevented him from continuing in that event.
He cited concussions as one reason for his decision, writing this on Twitter:
“Due to concussions and my own health, it is in my best interest to step away from competition. This is not an easy decision as I have had the goal of being a national champion since I can remember. I am not defined by my wins and losses. I am defined by my faith in God and the person he has guided me to become.”
Also in his message, Berge wrote, “I started this sport called wrestling at 3 years old. I have lived and breathed this sport since I can remember. Throughout the years the sport has brought me to the mountain tops, but also has thrown me down and hit me in the gut a few times.”
You can read his entire message below.
Thank you wrestling. 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/dbuYMEKGGy
— Brady Berge (@bradyberge) April 7, 2021
Berge went 10-3 this past season and 31-9 in his PSU career. He qualified for the NCAAs twice and was a three-time Academic all-Big Ten selection.
His career also includes a scary concussion history, including the following account from an excellent story about him two months ago by the Post Bulletin in Rochester, Minn. From that story:
Brady Berge couldn’t help but wonder if his sterling wrestling career might be over.
He was in a fog and with headaches, nausea and an aversion to bright lights after what happened to him in October of 2019 at the World U23 Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
The 2017 Kasson-Mantorville graduate and current Penn State redshirt junior had been clipped on the head by an opponent’s knee. It was severe enough — the knee making contact in such a dangerously precise way — that it had left him unconscious.
Once Berge did come to, he was alert enough as he lay in a Budapest hospital bed to realize that he had no feeling in his legs.
“As a 22-year-old, that is eye opening,” Berge said. “You don’t want to be in a wheelchair the rest of your life.”
Though his legs did regain feeling before the night was over, and the headaches, etc., passed after a couple of weeks, that incident will be with Berge forever. And that he had a lesser version of the same accident happen to him all over again two months later, makes it stick all the more.