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Physical Therapy Helps University of Florida Wrestler Win National Championship

The University of Florida Wrestler Suffers Shoulder Injury During Season

In November 2021, University of Florida wrestler Alfonso Vargas suffered a near circumferential labrum tear in his right shoulder at the first tournament of his sophomore year. After missing most of the season, he returned to wrestle for conferences and nationals. However, he failed to place at nationals. On May 11, 2022, Alfonso had surgery on his shoulder.

“For months after my injury and surgery, I was told by teammates, coaches, family, and friends that I should retire from competing. They told me I would hurt myself worse, cause future issues, or even get another surgery if I continued with the sport,” said Alfonso. His wrestling career began during his freshmen year of high school, so giving up the sport was not a decision he was ready to make. He went on to say, “I knew what I did in the months after surgery would be crucial.”

Physical Therapy Helps Wrestler Recovery from Injury

After researching, Alfonso found Garrison Matthews at PT Solutions in South Tampa. Garrison’s college experience as a D1 wrestler helped Alfonso make his decision to work with him. Garrison used every session for new and creative exercises that assisted in strengthening the areas of his shoulder that would end up in compromised positions during matches.

Alfonso explained, “Garrison gave my shoulder the strength and stability it needed to return and practice in competition as quickly as possible. Equally importantly, he gave me the confidence to go out and compete without fear of reinjuring myself.”

University of Florida Wrestler Wins National Championship

And compete he did. On March 11, 2023, just a little over one year after his injury, Alfonso became the 2023 141lb National Collegiate Wrestling Association Champion, making him the fourth champion in UF history.

After spending over half of the year in physical therapy, working on recovering from his injury the previous season, this year’s win was all the more special. However, his career in wrestling is still ongoing. He has two more years of eligibility and will compete next year for a chance to win his second title. Alfonso is graduating from UF next spring but may compete again if the law school he attends has a team.

This summer, Alfonso will travel all over Florida with his good friend (also a national champion), running clinics for youth, middle school, and high school wrestlers. He plans on being a part of the sport in one way or another for a very long time.

“After suffering what could have been a career-ending injury, I’m thrilled and grateful to be able to say I’ve never felt stronger, faster, and more in shape in my life. I know that would be impossible without the care I received at PT Solutions, and especially from Garrison Matthews,” Alfonso explained.

On behalf of everyone at PT Solutions, we want to say congratulations to Alfonso for his amazing win!



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