Former Blair, PSU wrestler Platt loses cancer battle

Jared Platt, who had wrestled at Blair Academy and Penn State, competed in mixed martial arts, and coached, died Friday. The 26-year-old had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer last fall.

Jared Platt wrestled and coached at Blair Academy in New Jersey (Photo/Tony Rotundo,
Platt had a successful competitive career in personal combat sports most of his life, going against the advice of doctors, because he had been diagnosed Type 1 diabetes at age 8. He was a two-time Prep School National champion for national New Jersey-based powerhouse Blair Academy in high school, winning at 215 pounds in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, Platt was named to the ASICS High School All-American Team as its third team member at 215 pounds. He was honorable mention in 2006.

In addition to success in folkstyle, Platt made a name for himself in freestyle, where he was a Junior Nationals freestyle champion in 2007 at 215 pounds. He placed second in the 2010 University Nationals and fourth in 2008 University Nationals. He also won gold medals in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at the 2007 Pan American Junior Championships.

Platt was recruited by Penn State for the 2007-08 season, and was a leading candidate to replace NCAA champ Phil Davis at 197 upon graduation. However, Platt was unable to wrestle because of a shoulder injury according to news reports at the time.

Platt had been dealing with severe back pain for years, the result of a traumatic injury sustained while competing in a wrestling tournament, according to his page. In early September 2015, Platt underwent emergency surgery on his spine because the pain had become extreme. While in surgery a growth was spotted by the operating surgeon. After multiple tests, it was determined that Platt had Stage 4 cancer.

Friends from throughout the wrestling community offered their thoughts on Jared Platt.

"Jared Platt exited his Life as a Championship Fighter who never gave up the fight," wrestling journalist El Fatom posted on Facebook. "The Blair Academy wrestler and type-1 diabetic inspired many of his colleagues and teammates to stand by him in faithfully raising support for his benevolent cause. The father, husband and athlete was recently diagnosed with a progressive stage 4 cancer. Our shared condolences with his family, friends and community."

It's hard to express compounding feelings of loss. It's hard to understand why some people don't have the opportunity to live equally long lives," wrote Hudson Taylor, former University of Maryland NCAA All-American and founder of Athlete Ally organization. "But what I can express and do understand is that Jared is still here. His impact on our lives is still here. His humor and joy and friendship is still here. We may not be able to see him in person, but we can see and celebrate his legacy every day. I love and miss you Jared Platt."

Bubba Jenkins, Arizona State NCAA champ now competing in mixed martial arts, posted this message on Facebook: "The say the good die young, and this couldn't be more true with the passing of my good friend and teammate Jared Platt. The cliché lines like my prayers are with his family are obvious, but what we don't often hear and think about is how short life is and how much we need to show the people we care for so much more love on a daily basis then we already do. This loss hurts so many people that it's hard to comprehend how we are supposed to move forward. I say we don't. I say we pause right now and take a moment to think about who Jared Platt was to his friends, his teammates and most importantly to his family, his smile was infectious and his personality one of a kind, I never have and will never meet another human being like my boy Platt. My heart is heavy cuz I don't deal well with death but my strength abide in my father who art in Heaven. You fought a great fight my friend and you will be truly missed. I'm sure you children know but when I see them again I will be sure to tell them again how much of a great man you were! R.I.P my boy, I'll never forget you."

Kellen Russell, NCAA champ at the University of Michigan, paid tribute to two wrestlers in their 20s who had recently passed away, Jared Platt, and Justin Chrzanowski, his teammate on the Wolverines.

"The world lost two bright rays of light this past week. They both were brothers to me; anyone who has ever wrestled or seen wrestlers knows that the bond is one of true brotherly love. We shared many ups and downs together but ups were always better with both Justin and Jared around and the lows never felt as low when I was with them. They were both the life of the party and where ever they were there was sure to be laughs. We shared the misery of cutting weight and hard workouts but we also shared in the celebration of victory and the laughter from the close call the night before. I know that heaven is a much funnier place with Justin and Jared there. My thoughts and prayers go out to both the Platt and Chrzanowski families. I love and miss you both."

Platt leaves behind his wife Candace, and two daughters, CaiLee and Cara-James, as well as other family members.

Funeral arrangements had not been publicized as of Sunday afternoon.


Login or Register to post a comment