Wrestling champion returns to the ring after fears that he might never walk again
- Credit: Archant
A Norfolk strongman and wrestling champion is back in the ring, eight years after being told by doctors he might never walk again.
Dave Waters, 46, shot to wrestling fame as one half of Europe's top tag team, the UK Pitbulls.
Fighting under the names of 'Big Dave' and 'The Bulk', he and his brother Mike first got into the ring 20 years ago and, at one time, held a record 15 titles.
Dave also competed in strongman contests, winning the coveted UK's Strongest Man title and, during the 1990s, was ranked in the world top 20.
However, while taking part in the 2009 Britain's Most Powerful Man contest, a devastating injury left the former Sheringham High School student fighting for his future.
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Competing in the farmer's walk event, which sees competitors carry two 300lb-plus weights for a set distance, Dave dislocated his left kneecap and ruptured muscles and tendons in both legs.
After eight weeks in full leg casts, complications including deep vein thrombosis meant he spent the following four years in a wheelchair and a further four years in constant pain and relying on crutches to get about.
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With Dave out of action, the brothers were forced to close the gym they ran at Cromer and Mike had to find a new wrestling partner.
'I was devastated,' Dave said. 'I didn't know if I would ever walk unaided again, I couldn't train, I put loads of weight on and the worst thing was that I was taking about 15 pain killers a day which meant I couldn't think straight.'
Eighteen month ago, with his weight ballooning to 28 stone, Dave decided that 'enough was enough'.
'I woke up one day and thought this couldn't be the rest of my life,' he said.
With the support of his family, and former wrestling pal and body builder Martin Garrard, who wrote him a nutrition plan, Dave built up his strength and lost seven stone.
He went on to shed more weight after joining a gym run by former UK Pitbull team member Charlie Davies and says he is in better shape than ever before.
He and Mike, 40, are now planning a series of wrestling events and will be teaming up with 'Big Joe' to take part in a six-man tag match as part of a wrestling event being hosted by Falling Star Wrestling at Holt Community Centre on November 10 at 7pm.
Tickets, priced £12 (£8 children, £35 family ticket), are available from www.fswrestling.co.uk