Massillon wrestler without legs defying the odds - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Massillon wrestler without legs defying the odds

Massillon wrestler competes without legs. (Source: WOIO) Massillon wrestler competes without legs. (Source: WOIO)
MASSILLON, OH (WOIO) -

A local high school wrestler is having a successful season, despite battling the odds. The teenager was born without legs, but he isn't letting that keep him down.
 
Zion Shaver loves wrestling.
 
“I've always wanted to do a sport, and I found one and it's awesome,” he said.

The senior at Massillon Washington High School has been wrestling since second grade.
 
He's strong and fast.
 
“There's some things I can't do, and I figured them out by trying them. You gotta try something, 'cause you never know what you can do unless you try,” he said.

Head coach Gil Donahue has helped Zion develop his skills on the mat over the last six years.

“He's the strongest kid I've ever had in wrestling. He benches 225 pounds for five and he weighs 88 pounds,” Donahue said. 

 When Zion competes, he starts in the "neutral position thanks to a rule change from the OHSAA after the team wrote a letter to the state.
 
“The top and bottom position for wrestling, he was not very successful at because guys could just pull him right back,” Donahue said. 

 Otherwise, all of the regular rules apply.
 
So far this season, Zion's record is 20 and 4 after he won Monday night's match.

“He's a very, very hard worker and he leads by example and the other kids see that. And it really does rub off to the other teammates,” Donahue said.

To Zion, it's not a disability. There's nothing he can't do. He just works harder and pushes his teammates to give their best.
 
“In wrestling it's all or nothing. So if I want to do something I just have to go 100 percent for it and hopefully I get it,” Shaver said.

Zion has big plans for his future.
 
“For college I'm going to major in architecture and I'm definitely going to wrestle at the next level,” he said.

We asked him what advice he would give to anyone facing a disability.
 
“You gotta look at it the positive way, you gotta see the brighter side of things and try your best at everything you do,” Shaver said.

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