IOWA CITY, Iowa — The worst was over. Levi Duwa was convinced of it. He ruptured a tendon in his left foot in September, but it wasn’t completely torn. Life was turning around.
Then the doctor spoke in November.
An X-ray confirmed Duwa’s original fear – a complete tear requiring a pin and a second surgery. His hopes of a three- or four-month recovery vanished. In its place appeared a nightmare — the potential end of his high school athletic career.
“He was pretty devastated by that,” Mid-Prairie (Iowa) High School football coach Pete Cavanagh said.
Duwa had ruptured his tendon only once, when an opponent fell awkwardly on him in September, but it seemed like he suffered a second injury shortly after the first.
Not long after he had started acting like himself again and was coming around to a possible December or January return to the wrestling mat, the complete tear was revealed during a visit to the doctor. He underwent surgery in November.
“He’s glad they got it right and they found out what is wrong and they got it straight,” Cavanagh said, “but he is just missing some opportunities here his senior year.”
Duwa is expected to make a full recovery and be 100 percent healthy by the time he arrives at Iowa for summer workouts.
But the second surgery potentially ended his high school career. Duwa’s wrestling days are over. There is an outside chance he could return for track. The finality of it all can be hard for a teenager to handle, even one with a college future.
“He’s obviously getting a football scholarship, but he loves wrestling,” Cavanagh said. “I know his dad really loves wrestling, too. So that hurt.”
Duwa tried keeping a positive attitude when he first suffered the injury.
“It could be a lot worse, for sure,” Duwa told Land of 10.com in October. “I am pretty fortunate it turned out the way it was.”
Even though he’s spent the past two months in a walking boot, Duwa’s disposition is improving.
“The hard part has kind of passed him and he has been able to put a little bit of weight on it recently,” Cavanagh said. “He is able to move on it a little bit better.”