KUSA - Joe Hunsaker never actually got to finish his wrestling year, and he may never be finished dealing with the reason why.
Goals can change. They frequently do.
Sometimes there is no choice.
Castle View senior Joe Hunsaker had wrestling goals.
"To make it to state, and then place," Hunsaker told 9NEWS.
His new objective seems far too simple for a 17-year-old athlete.
"What I would love is to walk again," said Joe.
Just weeks before this year's state tournament his life changed.
"It was a perfectly normal move, I've ran it on people," said Joe of the maneuver that put too much pressure on his neck. He felt a pop, and a crack.
"The first thing that went through my head was, 'oh no'… please God help me," said Hunsaker.
Joe is now at Craig Hospital recovering from a spinal cord injury. He is paralyzed from the chest down.
"It's tough going from being 1 of the top athletes in your school and 1 of the most competitive athletes in the state to not being able to use most of your body," said Hunsaker.
Since the injury Joe has gone to work.
"I'm stuck in this situation and the only way to get out of it is to do my best and work my hardest," said Joe.
"He's done awesome, and he's not done by any means," said Dr. Bill Scelza who is in charge of Joe's rehab and recovery. He understands. Nobody could understand quite like he does.
"Joe's 17. He was wrestling and his injury occurred on February 1st," said Scelza, "I had an immediate connection before I even met him because when I was injured I was 17, the day was February 1st. It was kind of surreal moment there."
Scelza was paralyzed in a car accident and has been in a wheel chair ever since. Life's path led him to helping others that know his struggle. It led him to Joe. The 17-year-old didn't need this crazy coincidence to start working, he is determined to re-gain what he has lost. His doctor just made getting started that much easier.
"He's not competing in a sport, he's competing for his life and his independence. He's working just as hard or harder than he ever did before," said Joe's dad Jim Hunsaker.
No greater goal than the one set before him now.
"He's determined and he's going to get there. I have no doubt about that," said Scelza.
The quotes in his hospital room, don't motivate this Hunsaker, they define him.
"Life is a battle and the greatest strength is to overcome," reads Joe, "and I think that's true."
He will fight for what's in front of him.
Whether that's stepping on a wrestling podium...or simply taking another step.
"That's the goal."
If you would like to help Joe and his family on this road to recovery here is a link for donations: : http://www.tinyurl.com/BattleBack