Multiple concussions force former US Olympian to give up wrestling
University of Minnesota head wrestling coach J Robinson announced today that redshirt sophomore Jake Deitchler will no longer be competing for the Gopher wrestling program due to his history with concussions that have dated back since he was 7-years old.
“I am very proud to say that I was a wrestler here at the University of Minnesota,” said Deitchler. “I have been through a lot since I arrived here on campus a few years back and in the end, I am very proud to say that I was a wrestler for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.”
Over the holiday break Deitchler and coach Robinson traveled to meet with Sports Concussion Specialist Dr. Michael Collins of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, to discuss Deitchler’s issue. This was Deitchler’s third trip to the clinic in efforts to try and get him back on the mat. After conducting several tests, Dr. Collins advised Deitchler that it would be in his best interest not to continue his wrestling career.
Deitchler had previously met with Dr. Collins back during the 2010-11 school year, to help resolve his concussion problem. He went through many tests and waited for positive results, before he finally was given the green light to get back on the mat that fall.
“Talking with coach Robinson we both agreed that God closes one door and then opens up another door for you,” Detichler said. “I am sad that my wrestling career is over, but I am looking forward to the many opportunities that will come my way in the future.”
This past fall, Deitchler made his comeback to the mat and began training with the Gophers. On Nov. 12 at the Bison Open in Fargo, N.D., he captured the 157 pound title for the Maroon and Gold. A week later he dropped a decision to top-ranked Kyle Dake of Cornell, but responded with a victory over No.9 ranked Dylan Alton of Penn State, in the Gophers upset win over the defending national champion Nittany Lions.
“He (Deitchler) is a very special person who has been through a lot,” Robinson said. “It is very hard to tell someone who has put in so much time, hard work and dedication into this sport that you can no longer wrestle. Jake is a competitor and I know he will find other opportunities that will fuel his competitive spirit.”
Deitchler was the 2007 NHSCA Junior National Champion at 145 pounds; he went on to represent the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in the 66 kg./145.5 lb. Greco-Roman division, becoming the first high school wrestler to make the U.S. Olympic team since Mike Farina in 1976. To get to Beijing, Deitchler knocked off 2006 World bronze medalist Harry Lester in the semifinals and 32-year-old Faruk Sahin, in Las Vegas at the 2008 Olympic Trials.
Robinson said that Deitchler will still be part of the No. 4 Golden Gophers while finishing up his education.
“He is a Gopher and will continue to be a member of this team in some shape or form,” Robinson said. “He is going to continue his education here and wants to get into business one day.”
The Anoka, Minn., native prepped at Anoka High School where he won three state championships and compiled a 201-38 record. Over his last three seasons at Anoka, Deitchler dominated with a 125-1 over record, en route to his Olympic dream.