Terrapin wrestler grapples with father's ill health

David-Brian's dad has been to every match this season, except this one. This time, he's watching from a hospital room.

COLLEGE PARK, MD (WUSA9) - Imagine going to your dream school, out of state, having the blessing and support of your parents, only to have a medical diagnosis make you question the situation.

That's what one Maryland Terrapin athlete is dealing with, but it's not holding him back.

David-Brian Whisler is a redshirt freshman out of Ohio: a proud recruit of Head Coach Kerry McCoy who often loses players to Ohio State.

The entire Whisler family was beaming with pride on signing day in their Terps gear. Especially dad, a big supporter of his 197-pound wrestler son.

David-Brian's dad has been to every match this season, except this one. This time, he's watching from a hospital room.

Dave is battling brain cancer and was suddenly admitted to the hospital the night before this match. But nothing would keep him from watching his son, called DB.  

The Terps wrestler says, "It's like he's here I know he's face deep into that iPad. He's watching."  

Dad got to see a 4-3 win. He sent a text that he's so happy he got to watch his and is proud of him.

David-Brian's Mom, Alysa said her husband, in Terps gear, made all the nurses in ICU watch with him. She says her husband wears something with Terrapins on it every day. 

David-Brian said his Dad is a jokester and really into wrestling.

"The nurses literally always come up to my mom, 'Has he always been this crazy or is it the tumors?' No, he's nuts," David-Brian said.

The elder Whisler was diagnosed with skin cancer five years ago. After treatment he was considered cancer free. But it returned and spread to his brain this fall. DB grappled with returning home after the diagnosis, but knew better.

"One of my dad's requests was that I stay here at all costs," he said. "He would beat my butt if I even wanted to come home."

Instead the grim news fuels the young wrestler.

"When we're running sprints in practice its like, 'Wow, this is nothing compared to my Dad sitting in a chair getting stuff drilled in his head.'"

Wrestling coach Kerry McCoy reminds David-Brian often.

"If everything you're family's struggling with right now and then you don't do what you're capable of doing then that's just going to make everything that much worse," he said.

So DB will keep battling opponents while his Dad keeps fighting cancer at home. 


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