My name is Jared Platt and I’m a T-1 Diabetic.
Wrestling and Diabetes have made me the person that I am today… My kids AND my dog think I’m pretty awesome. So that’s really cool.
I have traveled the world (wish I took more photos) and shared experiences with many of this planets most gifted athletes, musicians, intellects (as I stretch my suspenders). It’s been a great life, Blessed beyond words to have endured and lived what I have.
There have been two things in my life that have given the opportunity to open the doors to these experiences. Wrestling and Diabetes.
I grew up in Northwest, New Jersey… Sort of out by the Delaware Water Gap… Nowhere you’ve ever heard of, or been. On the edge of Jenny Jump State forest, where you weren’t really close to much except for the woods and the beautiful, scrolling mountainous ranges and wet lands. Maybe one of the state’s best kept secrets.
I grew up wrestling from a very young age. When I was diagnosed at age 8, they told me it would be best that I stopped wrestling. Who knows what I would have done if I had been discouraged.
In High School, I attended prestigious boarding school, Blair Academy, where I was named captain of the wrestling team my junior and senior year and received many “Named” awards, as well as on the Class Council.
While wrestling for Blair Academy, I was a multiple time League, State and National Champion, in both Scholastic and Freestyle Wrestling.
In the Summer of 2007, before I started at Penn State University, I represented Team USA at the Jr. Pan Am Games where I won Double Gold in Freestyle and Greco Roman and took home the Outstanding Wrestler Award. Upon arriving home, USA Wrestling named me “Athlete of the Month”.
Moving into Penn State’s Main Campus to wrestle was unreal. It literally didn’t seem real. I have MANY family members that attended PSU and still bleed blue and white, attend PSU functions, donate to THON, also, my cousin was a National Champ at PSU, they hadn’t had many. That was great but also a problem at the time.
I had been coming from the No. 1 team in the country, with the best coach in the nation to a basically un-ranked, team that seemed to be lacking a lot. It left me concerned and I asked to be released from my National Letter of Intent to PSU. It was denied. They said “stay for the year, if you don’t want to be here, it’s your redshirt year and you can transfer.” So I stayed. And it was incredible. I began to really love it and I met some of the best people in the world.
A couple of months into training, I suffered a shoulder injury that put me under the knife and out of commission. I rehabilitated my shoulder (sooner than I should have, but that’s how it goes) and got back on the mat. I had made a huge jump while on the sidelines and was showing it, taking down anyone in front me.
That was my freshman year, a redshirt year, a year where I technically wasn’t competing for the University (the NCAA is a whole other nightmare). At the conclusion of the collegiate season, I was geared up for Freestyle and was a Finalist in the University National Championship. At that event, I tore my MCL during my second match, day 2 of the event was rough with the stiffest leg I’ve ever had. My last match, I beat the No. 3 ranked wrestler on the Olympic Ladder at the time. The next event was the US Open where, again, in my second match, I suffered, this time, a more serious injury to my back. I had to roll off the mat… There is no way I was letting a stretcher come get me. My pain tolerance has always been abnormally high.
The trainers pretty much shrugged it off and said it was my SI joint in my back, ice it, rest it, no worries. I did… A little. Wasn’t getting much better.
That also was the same time we were finishing up the spring semester at PSU. The coaches were surprised at our end of the year meeting when I hadn’t forgot about our deal. They weren’t very happy. Driving home… I started receiving phone call after phone call. Finally, I picked up. It was a reporter asking “Why I had been thrown off the PSU Wrestling team?!?”
I was blindsided.
I was also trying to figure out what I was going to do next.
Wrestling; you always, first, think Iowa Hawkeyes. They had recruited me heavily and I reached out about becoming a hawkeye. But first, I had to go to an Iowa Junior College to get my grades up because while at PSU, I was stupid and all I wanted to do was wrestle and didn’t understand the importance of my education, so I slacked off in the classroom. But I always loved to learn, so I ended up studying what I liked and taking only the classes that I felt interesting, seriously. Isn’t that what college is supposed to be?! HA.
The Junior College was called Iowa Central Community College, the prodigal Junior College National Champs. The plan was to then transfer into Iowa.
After my back injury, wrestling was never the same. I was in constant agony and had to change how I wrestled to avoid injury/pain. I was getting really big and had to cut A LOT of weight to make 197 pounds, I was mentally tough, so I dealt with it. Even though it greatly affected my Diabetes. (That’s a whole other blog). After a few open tournaments, my back finally gave out and I didn’t have control of my legs for a few hours. We were hours from “home”… Iowa and I was all sorts of laid up. We drove home, of course got pulled over. No ticket. Thankfully, as I was dying in the front seat and were wrestlers in Iowa. We immediately went to the local ER where they took x-rays and an MRI.
When the results were in, the doctor informed me that there was nothing wrong with my back and that I was fine. Hmm. Odd because that is all not true.
My friend from NJ flew out to Iowa and we drove my car home, as I needed assistance. When I got home, we went to the Hospital for Special Surgery in NY where they told me I had two fractures of vertebrae that had appeared to have healed and also major damage to other parts of my back and that I would need rehab but wrestling was probably not going to be possible.
Again. Again, I am hearing this.
I don’t think I really believed it then but I went through a pretty dark period. I was down a total of 50 pounds, they said my wrestling career was over and I was living at my parents house, couldn’t eat from the drugs, couldn’t move from the pain (and drugs). I spent most of my time doing research on the internet. Lots of reading… Lots.
It wasn’t until I adopted my dog, Caroline, a Pitbull/Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix that I had found new purpose. She is very sensitive and emotional, she is a great dog and is great, now, with my kids. She has saved me number of times. I have heard of Diabetic Service Dogs, she might not be certified but she certainly is one.
I bounced around for a while, cried at the NCAA Tournament, explored many other avenues in life and was led to my wife. She is beautiful and I am sorry she has me! We are extremely blessed and have two beautiful girls. Three including the dog.
My back started to feel better… So I started testing myself, testing my limits, as I have always done. I started lifting, running, working out, researching. Building my body back. Body Building. I had gotten back up to a healthy weight and getting bigger and stronger. I started coaching wrestling and personal training to make money to go back to school.
I was now enormous. 240+ pounds, >10% Body Fat, working with Body Builders and regular clients alike. I decided to visit my friends at PSU for their annual tournament. I guess after I left, the School had enough of a sub par wrestling program that was once great. They hired Cael Sanderson for an exuberant amount of money and he turned the team RIGHT around. He had also recruited me to Iowa State, where he formally coached. Leaving never felt worse.
As fate would have it, I ended up back at PSU wrestling under the New Staff. It was like a dream come true. Only a few weeks after moving back into University Park, now my wife, girlfriend at the time, told me that we were expecting our first child. I was scared. And now, in addition to High School loans adding up, because the NCAA is unruly, I was paying a bubble inflated rate to be out-of-state enrolled. So I dropped out and started exploring alternate career paths. But not before becoming the National Open Champion… at Heavyweight for PSU. I’ll take what I can get…
So there we were, now living with her parents near beautiful Long Beach Island, NJ. I had a few fisherman friends and they were going to hook me up with a job as a deck hand (Not even a greenhorn!) on one of their boats. Some of which were featured on Discovery Channel’s Swords: Life on the Line.
In the morning, I would be going out to stock the boat and prepare for my first 20 day trip. That night before, I received a phone call from my friend, Phil Davis, former NCAA Champ for PSU. He was preparing for an upcoming UFC Fight and asked if I would come to San Diego to wrestle with him… He would even pay me! Praise God! Saved my life again! And now I was back in the midst of the highest level of competition.
Getting out to San Diego was an eye opening experience. I have been traveling their to work with Phil and his teammates for years now. Since then, we have become best friends and brothers. It was beautiful and it sparked my next journey. Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts.
I started traveling the world with Phil and others, training and competing, I even won a few national and world titles in grappling along the way and became a professional mixed martial artist myself.
That is only a little bit about me! There is so much more! If you enjoyed reading, you’ll have to wait for the book! HA!
I’m now back living in Northern NJ with my wife, kids and dog. Currently, diabetes is giving me a good run for my money and have had to make many changes. This has what has really been the catalyst behind creating this blog.
I really appreciate you taking the time to read this…
Stay tuned, the best is yet to come!
Check out my site : www.FightingType-1.com
Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: TeamDiabetic