Nik Hoot is part of an exclusive club. No, it’s not the wrestling club at his local high school, where he excels to the point of finishing as one of the top competitors in his weight class.
No, the club Hoot belongs to is a small group of people who can say they survived a failed abortion. A local news report relays this very touching story:
On Saturday, Woodlan sophomore Nik Hoot took third place in the 113-pound weight class at the ACAC wrestling tournament. Considering he was the third seed entering the weekend you could call it an expected outcome. But the fact that Nik is wrestling at all is itself nothing short of a miracle.
The son of Marvin and Apryl Hoot, Nik is a well rounded athlete in spite of the fact that he is missing parts of both legs and doesn’t have a fully developed set of fingers. He lives with these physical disabilities because his biological parents – an unknown couple from Russia – attempted to abort Nik. The abortion didn’t take and in the fall of 1996 Nik was born – he was put up for adoption shortly thereafter.
Where Nik’s story truly begins though is just over one year later when Marvin and Apryl – residents of Woodburn – adopted Nik into a new world and a new life. He’s been turning heads and opening eyes ever since.
Nik was given his first pair of prosthetic legs when he was two years old. Within a couple of weeks he had ditched his walker and was moving about on his own. He’s played nearly every sport available to him: football, baseball, basketball and of course wrestling. Now – he’s blazing a path for his own family.
In addition to Nik, the Hoot’s have adopted five other children from foreign countries, all who have birth defects (this is on top of the three biological children the Hoot’s raised as well). The younger one’s see Nik as a role model and some are already starting to follow in his steps. Of Nik’s siblings, one wrestles with him on the Warriors roster, while a younger sister is a cheerleader. The Hoot’s are a family of miracles.
As for Nik – he isn’t satisfied yet. As he continues to improve on the mat, he says he wants to one day wrestle in college. With everything he’s accomplished already – what’s to stop him?
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Nik understands the condition the botched abortion caused, but he looks at it as a challenge, not a limitation, when it comes to wrestling.
“I know there’s some things I cannot do,” he says. “But I’ll still try. I’ll learn how to do it. Simple things, like running fast. … I know the probability is I will never be able to run as fast as most people.”
“I don’t see it as being difficult,” he says of his knees-to-the-mat style. “I look at it as being an advantage, because I wrestle people with both their legs all the time, so I know everything they can do. But when they look at me, it’s completely different. I always just try to be as quick as I can, and I know what to stay out of. Because if I get in a particular situation, I know that they can get me down.”