Luis Palacios Feature – Jimmy $

Jimmy Edwards-Turner

Listen to staff writer Jimmy Edwards-Turner interview wrestler Luis Palacios.

“[The loss of my leg] has its advantages and disadvantages,” says Luis Palacios, a freshman wrestler for Cerritos College. Palacios lost his leg to bone cancer last year.

Afflicted with osteosocrama, one of the most common cases of cancer in young adults, Palacios had to undergo surgery and went through the necessary physical therapy for six months.

As Palacios walks to the locker room for practice, he attracts curious glances from passers-by. His metallic prosthetic leg glints in the sunlight, a glaring obstacle and an unlikely asset.

“I have to take the loss into account while wrestling, but [my opponents] only have one leg to shoot for,” the wrestler jokes.

Before this hindrance, he was already an aspiring wrestler showing formidable potential, competing on the San Jacinto High School wrestling team in 2007. Losing a leg did not do much to slow down Palacios’ determination to train.

As a redshirt for the Falcons, he will be laying much groundwork this year by training with the team and refraining from competitions. According to Palacios, he was already making excellent progress as a wrestler and [the loss of his leg] is only a minor setback.

Palacios explains that his partiality to wrestling over other sports is due to the unique sense of camaraderie. He professes his relief when finding his bodily modification did not interfere with his teams’ ethic.

Don Garriott, head wrestling coach and Disabled Student Programs and Services specialist, explains the effects of Palacios’ missing limb on his technique. “Since this is [Palacios’] first year wrestling without [his leg] we’re trying to figure out what he can and cannot do,” Garriottt says.

Palacios could have gained a great advantage from his circumstances. Garriott explains how Palacios’ weight class is affected by his lost leg and how he could use this discrepancy to his favor.

Losing the leg also meant losing twenty pounds, thus bringing Palacios’ weight from 185 to 165 pounds.

Garriott illustrates, “If he trains hard enough and works on his strength, he can be as strong as someone of his prior weight class while competing in his current [weight class].”

Palacios and Garriott have also been experimenting with various starting positions and stances to accommodate the loss of the leg. Garriott elaborates, “He can stand in neutral position but he can’t do takedowns from there.

“We’re changing up his stance so he can attack effectively; a downward stance let’s him attack legs and get in on shots.”

Palacios goes on to elaborate how he is studying for a career in physical therapy and pursuing a bachelor degree in kinesiology. He declares his experience with physical hurdles to overcome influences his choice profession.

After finishing his academics at Cerritos, he plans on moving on to California State University of Long Beach.

Although he considers it a mere annoyance on his road to success, osteosarcoma is a serious ailment with 68 percent mortality rate according to the American Cancer Society. Medical science and Palacios’ fortitude helped him conquer his infirmity, but there is nearly a thousand young adults every year who have to face certain death.

The Falcons will be wrestling this weekend at the Soutern Regional Duals. Falcons suck whatever, Pete edit this paragraph.