A little more than a month ago, Josh Andrews sat in a wheelchair cheering for his Massabesic teammates in a wrestling tournament at Sanford.

Saturday he will be the top seed in the 220-pound division at the Western Class A regional tournament at Noble High School in North Berwick.

Despite being sidelined for nearly three weeks in the middle of the season, Andrews appears to be back in tiptop form.

“His heart is into wrestling,” Massabesic Coach Rick DeRosier said. “It’s something he really wants to do, and he was kind of bummed out when he couldn’t wrestle.”

Andrews was sidelined in early January after experiencing pain in the lower part of his left leg.

“I thought I broke my leg because I was in so much pain,” he said.

At first, doctors treated Andrews for cellulitis, a non-contagious bacterial infection.

“They put me on antibiotics and it kept on getting worse,” he said. “I ended up going twice a day for infusion therapy.”

It didn’t help, and the pain worsened.

“He did have a bacterial skin infection, which did cause his leg to swell up,” said Kim Andrews, his mother. “The problem was he was battling two different things, and (the doctors) didn’t realize there were two different things going on.”

When Andrews’ condition didn’t respond to treatment, doctors at Southern Maine Medical Center took another look. An ultrasound revealed three blood clots near his left shinbone.

Kim Andrews said she watched as doctors removed a blood clot the size and shape of an egg.

“It clotted outside the vein,” she said. “They gave him a local anesthetic and numbed his leg.”

Two weeks after the procedure, Andrews received clearance to resume wrestling.

“I felt a big difference as soon as they removed it,” he said. “But it was still quite swollen, and I had to stay out for a while.”

On Jan. 21, Andrews won all four of his matches at the prestigious Michael Baker Classic in Essex Junction, Vt.

“I was pretty much bed-ridden for two weeks, and I went up to wrestle (in Vermont) after one day of practice.”

DeRosier isn’t surprised by how quickly Andrews has recovered.

“Before he went out, he was in top condition, so it didn’t take him that long to get back,” DeRosier said. “In wrestling, you have to be in very good shape, and that’s something that we really work on. Technique-wise, we’re probably not one of the better teams, but as far as being fit and going the full six minutes that something we do work on.”

DeRosier said Andrews is an extremely hard worker.

“He’s a kid who pushes himself,” DeRosier said. “He’s not a kid who will sit in a corner, and, if you don’t watch him, he won’t do anything. He actually works hard.”

Andrews, a junior who posted his 100th career win last month shortly after resuming wrestling, is 25-2.

On Dec. 14, Marshwood’s Nick Ricker, who wrestles in the 285-pound division, scored a 5-3 decision over Andrews in his season-opening match.

On Dec. 30, Zach Ragout, the reigning Class C champion from Washington Academy at 220 pounds, pinned Andrews in the semifinal round at the Noble Invitational at North Berwick.

According to his mother, doctors said Andrews could have sustained his injury while playing football.

“The doctor said the blood clots were caused by blunt-force trauma,” she said.

Andrews, who played center and defensive tackle for the Mustangs, doesn’t recall feeling any significant pain while playing football.

“It started to hurt a couple of weeks into wrestling season,” he said. “I wrestled, and then a couple of days after the (Noble) meet, my leg started to swell up.”

Looking back, Andrews said he did feel different after the wrestling season began.

“I felt really tired before I realized I had something wrong with me,” he said.

Andrews also said he learned an important lesson from his experience.

“If you feel any pain, the sooner you get it checked out the sooner you can be back,” he said.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH


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