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Bengal Bouts: Feduska moves forward after shoulder injury

Cory Bernard | Friday, March 4, 2011

As he has for the last three rounds, junior captain Collin Feduska will arrive at Friday’s Bengal Bouts finals in street clothes. Not by choice, however.

The pre-med major with a minor in Science, Technology, and Values injured his shoulder before the 81st annual tournament began. With a history of injuries to the same shoulder, Feduska is no longer able to box.

“I’ve had shoulder problems in the past, and I’ve had a bunch of dislocations, so there’s too much of a risk of serious injury,” he said of his decision to put down the gloves for good. “I had surgery this past summer, but I dislocated it again during a sparring session in the spring right before fights.”

Though he acknowledges the difficulty in watching his peers carry on without him, Feduska continues to provide support and advice whenever possible.

“It’s tough, especially since it happened a week before the fights,” he said. “I’d been training expecting to fight, but now I’m fighting vicariously through other guys when I’m working with them.”

Coming to Notre Dame in the fall of 2008, Feduska had plenty of interest in joining Notre Dame’s boxing club. His older brothers Michael, a 2004 graduate, and Eric, a 2009 graduate, both boxed as undergraduates. Even his father participated in the club. Growing up with two older siblings subjected Feduska to a variety of physically taxing play-time activities.

“We’d do American Gladiators, where Michael and Eric would whack me with pillows,” Feduska said. “We would also all put on lacrosse gear and hit each other with the sticks. It was a rough upbringing at times but it was fun.”

During his time at Upper St. Clair High School, just southwest of Pittsburgh, Feduska played soccer and wrestled. He wanted to continue his active lifestyle and the boxing club became a perfect way to stay in shape while also spending time with Eric.

“I wrestled in high school, which is about the closest experience I’d had,” he said. “Initially it was just something to keep me active and to stay in good shape. Also my older brother was a senior when I came in as a freshman and he was doing it so it was a cool activity for us to do together.”

From his early days in the gym as an inexperienced freshman to his current status as a junior captain, Feduska has acquired a wealth of boxing knowledge. During his first year, the thought of eventually teaching the craft to others didn’t cross his mind.

“That wasn’t something that had even entered into my mind,” Feduska said of the idea of being a captain. “The captains and some of the coaches get together and decide who has the skill and who has the dedication. My hard work paid off.”

Now relegated solely to training rather than participating, Feduska says he enjoys watching younger members develop as boxers from their first day to their first fight, and sometimes even beyond.

“It’s always interesting at first, seeing kids come in not knowing what they’re doing,” he said. “They usually pick it up very quickly, though. We actually have a lot of really talented freshmen this year. Many of them have made it through their first fight or even into the finals.”

As a more experienced member, he has also seen the club change its approach to training. He says since his freshman year the preparations in the fall and spring leading up to the tournament have evolved for the better.

“There have been a lot changes to practices since my freshman year,” Feduska said. “We’ve moved from doing a lot of push-ups and sit-ups and long distance running to sprints and better fight simulation stuff.”

Additionally, he says the fundraising aspect has improved.

“This year we also got in contact with a lot of alumni and sent out a bunch of donor cards explaining what was going on, which got us a lot more money,” Feduska said. “We are selling more stuff, too. Of course, all of those funds go directly to Bangladesh.”

Feduska also realizes the ultimate goal of the boxing club and the Bengal Bouts tournament. He says his job as a leader involves making sure the new members understand this goal, too.

“That’s something that comes along later,” he said of realizing the tournament’s objective. “With a lot of people, they come in trying to prove themselves, but the captains do a good job ingraining in your mind that it’s about what you’re doing for other people.”