Gabe Sheena has never been shy about his leg condition — the back wall of his dorm room features a plaque that reads “One-Legged Wonder Blvd.”

When Sheena, now a freshman on the Michigan wrestling team, was eight years old, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a common form of bone cancer. He underwent a Van Ness rotationplasty, a surgical procedure that rid his body of the tumor but forced doctors to amputate much of his left leg.

During the operation, doctors removed the knee and surrounding tissue, then reattached the remaining part of the limb. With the use of a prosthetic, Sheena’s foot now acts as his knee joint when he walks.

The procedure would severely hamper Sheena’s athletic abilities.

Or so the doctors thought.

In the summer before his freshman year at Brother Rice High School in Birmingham, Sheena attended Michigan’s wrestling summer camp, where he first met Michigan coach Joe McFarland and began wrestling without his prosthetic leg.

“He’s a neat kid and an inspiration to everyone,” McFarland said. “The kid has an awful lot of courage.”

He also has a rather blunt sense of humor.

When Sheena hears students complaining about homework or exams, he’s never afraid to chime in with a card that few can play. “A least you have two legs,” he says.

From his summer camp experience, Sheena was well aware of what it would take to become a Big Ten wrestler.

He worked on his upper body strength throughout high school (Sheena can bench 285 pounds now — roughly twice his body weight) and practiced new techniques that allowed him to maximize the use of his fully functional right leg.

Sheena tries to emulate the style of Arizona State wrestler and All-American Anthony Robles, who was born without a right leg and entered this season as the No. 3 wrestler in the nation.

“I try to watch film of him at least once a day,” Sheena said. “I ask myself, ‘What does Robles do in this situation? Can I do the same thing?’ ”

But as much as Sheena takes after Robles’s wrestling techniques, nobody has influenced his work ethic more than his father. Sheena described him as a “workout fiend,” the man that drove him to train harder, lift more and set goals.

“In the short term, my goals involve working hard, getting better, and helping the team in any way I can.” Sheena said.

And he does that much more than his 0-4 record from the early season warm-up matches shows.

“When players are stressed with managing practice and schoolwork and such, they look at Sheena and what he has to overcome,” McFarland said. “It kind of brings them back to reality.”

Coming off the bench hasn’t stopped Sheena from thinking big. After all, every athlete dreams of achieving a career-defining performance.

Michigan basketball star DeShawn Sims’ double-double that led Michigan to an upset over No. 4 Duke last season and quarterback Tate Forcier’s final drive that stunned Notre Dame in September. And Sheena recalls his defining moment at Brother Rice without hesitation.

In his sophomore year of high school, Sheena was scheduled for a varsity start at the Catholic League Tournament, where he got his chance at redemption against the only opponent who had pinned him that year.

Sounds like a climax taken from a movie script.

“It was a beautiful match,” Sheena said. “I wound up winning 18-9. I just killed him.”

Sheena hopes to have another career-defining moment in the next four years, but right now he is just focusing on his goal of starting for the Wolverines. And it’s clear from his past that he will continue to work hard, inspire his teammates and build on the moments that wrestling has given him.

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