Middletown High graduate Richard Perry is home in the Philadelphia area rehabilitating from his serious injury suffered during U.S. national wrestling team training camp in late August.
But he is still on the mind of his teammates at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Perry was supposed to be in Hungary part of the U.S. team as the training partner of four-time world champion Jordan Burroughs (74 kg /163 pounds). Burroughs vowed not to forget his training partner and his good friend.
Burroughs wore special shoes to honor Perry all weekend and had them on his feet when he won a bronze medal on Sunday — the sixth medal he has won at the world championships.
The shoes have an image of Perry with his arms raised high, celebrating a victory, along with the words PerryStrong, Overcomer and 60K/30.
“I wore these shoes all weekend,” Burroughs said Sunday to USA Wrestling.com. “(Rich) is one of my best friends in the world.”
Burroughs was pleased that he was able to see Perry and his wife Gina just before the U.S. team came to Hungary. Burroughs showed Perry the shoes and gave him a haircut with Gina.
“It gives me a lot of perspective,” Burroughs said. “If the worse thing (that happens to me) is losing a wrestling match with one second left, I will say I have it pretty good in comparison to what millions of people around the entire world are going through with poverty, injuries (and) cataclysmic situations. There are so many things that people go through on a daily basis.”
Perry is home in Philadelphia recovering from a freak accident during U.S. training camp. According to Andy Hamilton of TrackWrestling.com, Perry was involved in a drill with foam-padded clubs. He took a shot to the face and the foam protection dislodged. The baton slipped through a hole in his facemask and struck him the eye, causing trauma to the brain.
Perry spent four weeks in a San Diego hospital before being flown across the country to his home in Philadelphia. He is currently in a Philadelphia hospital and will remain in the intensive care unit until he is released to begin an inpatient therapy program, according to his wife Gina in an update on Facebook.
The back of the U.S. team’s short sleeve warmup jersey says Perry Strong. After he survived a tough semifinal bout on Saturday, American David Taylor smiled and looked at the back of jersey and called Perry a fighter in a post-match press conference.
Burroughs was one of four U.S. wrestlers to win medals on Sunday night. Taylor won a world championship at 86 kg (189 pounds) while Burroughs, Nick Gwiazdowski (125 kg/275) and Joe Colon (61 kg/134) each won bronze medals.
Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic champion and four-time world champion, won a big rivalry match to finish third, edging two-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist Frank Chamizo of Italy in the bronze-medal match in a 4-4 criteria decision. Burroughs went 4-1 in the tournament.
Taylor won his first world championship with a 12-2 win by tech fall over Turkey’s Fatih Erdin, the top seed in the tournament.
With four weight classes completed, the Americans, who won the world title in 2017, lead the team standings with 70 points and Russia in second place with 65 points. Read more from USA Wrestling.com
David Taylor survives a tough semifinal and gives a shoutout to Richard Perry
Jordan Burroughs speaks about perspective after winning a bronze medal Sunday night.
In June, Perry earned a spot on the U.S. national team at 86 kg for the first time with a 7-4 victory over former Iowa State wrestler Pat Downey.
Perry did attend the 2016 Olympics in Rio as the training partner for American Kyle Snyder, who won a gold medal.
Perry graduated from Middletown High in 2008, where he wrestled for two seasons. As a senior, he won the Class L and State Open title at 215 pounds and was second in New England. In 2009, he spent a year at Hyde-Woodstock and finished second in New England (215).