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A Young Athlete’s World of Pain, and Where It Led

‘A Bear’ of a Wrestler

For at least a few months, Karageorge and a friend, Mitch Crocker, tried taking prohormones, a testosterone booster they bought hoping it would help them achieve faster muscle growth. But, Crocker said, the substance made them “just angry at everything.”

Karageorge and his friends took out their aggression by starting a fight club, modeling it after the one in the 1999 movie. They gathered in backyards and had two people brawl with their bare knuckles until someone quit or was knocked out. Karageorge would not stop until his opponent squealed.

“He could never find anyone big enough to fight him,” Crocker said. “He would always want to fight. He would take on two guys at once, and no one even wanted to do that because he was so big and strong and just mean.”

Karageorge eventually quit football to focus on wrestling. He dreamed of winning a state title and competing in the Olympics. One summer he trained in Russia with a renowned coach, wrestling against men. His senior year, Karageorge drew interest from two premier programs, Iowa and Oklahoma. Entering the state tournament, he was undefeated,…

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