BEA’s McClenahan shines in the shadow of adversity

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WINGATE, Pa. (WTAJ) – What is normal to you?

For Bald Eagle’s Gage McClenahan, it’s catching TDs and pinning his opponent in wrestling, but if you asked him.

“I couldn’t tell you,” McClenahan said.

Growing up, life was anything but normal for McClenahan.

“Gage is the most mentally tough kid I know,” Bald Eagle football coach Jesse Nagle said.

At the age of five, McClenahan was rushed to the hospital and forced into a medically induced coma after doctors realized he was battling a respiratory virus, but that was only the beginning.

“Just going to school everyday, just listening to other people talk about how their mom and dad made them dinner every night, and I just realized like man I’m different,” McClenahan said.

Gage’s parents battled drug abuse and mental health forcing Gage to be constantly on the move.

“Sometimes I was with my dad, sometimes I was with my mom. Sometimes they were working and I had to fend for myself. That was the breaking point, it was either I go down the wrong path or I choose the right one,” McClenahan said.

After moving in full-time with his dad at the age of 15, everything started to turn positive for Gage in the classroom, on the field, until October 12th, 2018.

“I just went to go and when I cut, it snapped. Instantly, I knew something was different,” McClenahan said.

Gage tore every ligament in his knee plus a hairline fracture in his femur, his entire junior wrestling season gone in a split second.

“It was tough not doing what I love. There were rumors that I would never play sports again, but I wasn’t hearing any of that,” McClenahan said.

But Gage returned in five months, helping guide Bald Eagle to its second straight district title in football. As wrestling winds down in a few weeks, Gage embraces the new “normal” in his life, but his past will always fuel him.

“I wouldn’t change it. I’m glad I have this story and it can help me through it,” McClenahan said.

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