These have been terrifying times for South Jersey wrestling powerhouse Paulsboro High School.
State champion Brandon Green, 170-pound class, has been hospitalized for more than a week after he became unresponsive and required CPR last Monday. The state champion went into surgery Friday about 90 minutes before his teammates wrestled Woodstown for the championship of the South Jersey, Group 1 tournament.
“I texted (teammate) Gabe (Onorato) and I was like, ‘Do you want to make shirts for Brandon?’” Paulsboro senior Georgio Mazzeo said. “We went through it. (One of the parents) got in touch with a shirt-maker. We just made the design. We just wanted to make them for the team, but everybody wanted to buy one, so we started making more.”
When the teams came out for introductions, second-seeded Paulsboro’s wrestlers all had them on. And so did top-seeded Woodstown, the ultimate show of respect. The shirts had Green’s 170-pound weight class on the front with “#forbrandon” on the back.
“I don’t know about that. I was shocked about that,” Mazzeo said after second-seeded Paulsboro topped top-seeded Woodstown, 46-19.
“I didn’t know that they had shirts, to be honest with you, but that was really cool of them. That just goes to show you how tight New Jersey wrestling is. Everyone is supporting Brandon.”
An MRI after the medical crisis revealed Green had scar tissue around his heart, said Morina.
“I don’t know if he’ll be able to wrestle again, but I’m not worried about that at this point,” Paulsboro coach Paul Morina told NJ.com. “We just want him to live a healthy, long life. I talked to him this morning. He’s bummed out, obviously. The kid had his goals and dreams ahead of him.”
(Update: Green has accepted a scholarship to wrestle at Virginia Tech. The school will honor it despite NJ.com reporting Green’s wrestling career is over.)