Injuries helped shape Carter Brenner into the person – and athlete – he is today.
The 2020 graduate of Bexley missed all but one tournament in his junior wrestling season because of a shoulder injury that also forced him to miss the majority of his lacrosse season in the spring.
Last fall, he tore the meniscus in his right knee during preseason football, keeping the wide receiver/free safety out of the lineup until the seventh game.
However, Brenner was able to stay healthy for his senior wrestling season and nearly reached the Division II state tournament at 138 pounds. That determination helped him earn the Nationwide Children's Hospital Sports Medicine Perseverance Award as part of the Central Ohio All Star Preps awards show June 18.
"This really means a lot," Brenner said. "I have been knocked down plenty of times, but I kept working hard to become a better athlete.
"The hardest part was keeping my mind on my goals. I had to remain focused on what I wanted to accomplish."
As a senior, Brenner was the MSL-Ohio Division wrestling champion at 138, and he also won a sectional title. He then won his opening match in the district tournament before losing twice to finish 27-8.
"With everything Carter has gone through – the shoulder and then the knee – it's the perfect award for him," Bexley wrestling coach Chris Bragg said. "Someone like him deserves it because of his work ethic. If you don't have a work ethic you don't survive, and he works his butt off."
Brenner was named the Lions' Most Valuable Wrestler and was the program's scholar-athlete with a 4.39 GPA. He plans to attend the University of Miami, and his goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon.
"Carter exemplified what it means to persevere when faced with injury," said Gail Swisher, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Sports Medicine athletic trainer at Bexley. "He did all the right things – followed the advice of his sports medicine team, gave his best effort during each rehab session and remained determined to overcome the challenge – which ultimately translated to his safe and successful return to sport."