ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A wrestler at Manzano High School is inspiring people to defy the odds. 

Alex Swetland was not expected to live past the age of four, but now he’s won his first wrestling match with a little help from his opponent. 

“Wrestling is not about winning or losing. It’s just about having fun, and that’s what I did yesterday,” said Swetland. 

Freshman Alex Swetland, 15, said wrestling is his life. When he was born, he was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy. This condition affects his ability to move his body, especially his legs. However, Alex has never let this stop him from chasing his dreams. 

He has been wrestling since he was just seven years old. Alex said that the word “can’t” is a forbidden word that he tries his best not to say. 

“See every time I say, ‘I can’t do stuff,’ my dad gets mad at me, and he knows I can do stuff,” said Swetland.       

Yesterday, all of Alex’s hard work and perseverance paid off when he won his first match. The moment was touching. 

You can see in the video, the Highland High School wrestler puts his arms out while the referee counts and ends the match. 

The Highland wrestler then helps Swetland get up and shakes his hand. Head wrestling Coach Rodney Romero said he admires Alex’s determination. 

“He’s a champion already, just being here. This is one of the toughest sports for anybody to do, for him to just be able to be here every day, he’s conquered things that he doesn’t know he’s conquered yet,” stated Romero.  

Alex said he hopes his journey will inspire other young people to overcome their challenges and follow their dreams. He does have one big goal he wants to accomplish before he leaves Manzano. 

“I want to be one of the greatest, and I want my name on one of those trophies one day,” said Swetland.     


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We reached out to the Highland wrestling coach for more on his wrestler’s good deed but did not hear back. Some who’ve shared the video online call him an honorable young man.