Coach Travis Ricks: “Loss of a Few Troubling Pounds”

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Coach Travis Ricks: “Loss of a Few Troubling Pounds”

Jake Reedholm, Staff Writer

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Wrestling is a very aggressive sport that demands for keen physical fitness from every part of an athletes body.  However, the Clairemont High School Wrestling Coach, Travis Ricks, also known as Coach Ricks, is missing one of those critical parts.


Ricks lost his leg on March 5, 2003.  The illness that led to its eventual amputation several years started in 1997, during his senior year at Clairemont High School.  Ricks was a football, wrestling, and volleyball star. In his senior year of playing football, he started to notice he was limping.  During the sixth game of his season, Ricks was tackled to the ground and was unable to bend his knee.


“I crawled off the field and was taken to the hospital, where they found a tumor,” Ricks said.  


Ricks did eight months of chemotherapy and had his knee replaced that same year. He then went on to beat cancer and didn’t have issues with his knee for the next three years.  Then came the complications.


When he was 21, he went for a surgical procedure to remove his shattered kneecap on the same leg.  Unfortunately, while In the hospital, he acquired a serious case of staphylococcus, which is a staph infection.  Ricks fought off 16 different types of staph infections over a span of two years. Ricks finally agreed to make the life changing decision and amputate when he said to his doctor, “Let’s cut it off. It’s time to move on.”


After high school, Ricks started helping then head wrestling coach Gerry Knuppel. He actually did this for several years before ending up in the hospital for the staph infections.  


“After the two years I took off to save my life, and the loss of a few troubling pounds on the bottom right half of my body, I came back to help,” Ricks said, “It wasn’t the same though, as I wasn’t really confident enough with myself to take off my (prosthetic) leg off around people.”


“Then, one day I kind of just got over it and took the leg off and started demonstrating a few moves to some kids.” Ricks said, “That is, when I think Coach Knupple knew I was going to be okay and that he was eventually going to be able to turn the team over to me someday.”


Ricks said, “Wrestling was my one true love in high school, and it really was a strong factor in my fighting to overcome my battle with cancer.”


Ricks has had quite a run in wrestling and he is a true fighter for sticking with the sport for so many years, despite the fact that he faced many physical hardships.  Ricks took over as the head coach of the Clairemont High School Wrestling team in 2009 and he said, “It has been the best ride ever since.”

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Coach Travis Ricks: “Loss of a Few Troubling Pounds”