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Feduska continues to contribute to Bouts despite injury

Kelsey Manning | Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Senior captain and Bengal Bouts co-president Collin Feduska has been an Irish graduate in waiting ever since he took his first steps on Notre Dame’s campus.

“I was indoctrinated pretty early on,” he said. “I actually took my first steps here, which is kind of funny. I have the picture of me taking my first steps. It’s very triumphant too, with me holding my hands up and everything.”

Though that was undoubtedly his first epic moment on campus, Feduska cited a couple other epic moments in his four years at Notre Dame — namely his favorite memory from fighting in Bengal Bouts.

“The first two years, [my favorite moment] was definitely waiting for my fight the first night, sitting there with your robe up. The priest comes over and gives you the blessing, your heart rate starts going up as you stand up and start walking toward the ring, the lights are on you. That was definitely my favorite part,” he said. “Even sometimes sitting in class I get flashbacks and my heart will start going again, so that was an awesome experience.”

Unfortunately those flashbacks are the only way Feduska can experience that feeling again, as a recurring shoulder injury has prevented him from participating in the tournament for the last two years.

The Pennsylvania native and Keough Hall resident suffered the first injury to his shoulder during a soccer game in his sophomore year of high school. Though he went through surgery the following summer, the problem recurred.

“It got pretty out of hand my sophomore year when the dislocations started happening a lot more,” he said. “I had a couple my freshman year, but it wasn’t anything I was really concerned about. But sophomore year I couldn’t go most days without having it happen.”

Feduska started his boxing career at Notre Dame in impressive fashion, reaching the finals of the 140-pound division his freshman year only to fall to a four-time Bengal Bouts champion, then-senior Kris Perez. Even when his shoulder dislocated during his third round bout his sophomore year, Feduska managed to power through the fight.

“My sophomore year I was wearing a brace in my fight, and it was the third round and I dislocated it,” he said. “Nobody really noticed because I was able to get it back in and you couldn’t really see it at all because I had the brace. So I continued fighting. I lost in a split decision.”

Feduska was asked to be a captain for his junior year, but the season ended in a disappointing fashion as he threw out his shoulder in a spar the week before the tournament began.

“It was a little bit disappointing,” he said. “It happens and it’s just a total system shock. You don’t expect it. I had the surgery and everything was supposed to be fine, and then you kind of get your world turned upside down on you.”

But despite the injury and the certainty that he would not be able to fight his senior year, Feduska said the decision to return was a no-brainer.

“I was a junior captain, so once you’re a junior captain not only are you kind of expected to stick with it but at that point you really want to stay with it,” he said. “You went through everything the first year and you really want to come back and do the teaching. So it wasn’t a hard decision at all. I was also asked to be co-president with [senior Kevin Ortenzio] so that was a really big deal for me and I couldn’t turn that down. It was not a hard decision at all for me to want to come back and help out this year.”

Though actually participating in the tournament is not an option, Feduska still plays an integral role in training his fellow boxers. In fact, the senior is often the first person in the gym for conditioning and the last to leave, putting in roughly 12-14 hours of training per week.

“I can do pretty much everything except get into the ring with guys, so that’s pretty much where I draw the line,” he said. “I still do all the training, all the conditioning. I came into it wanting to be pretty active, so I’m usually one of the first guys down there when I can be and I usually leave probably a half hour after the actual practice ends.”

Feduska’s work ethic has not only paid off in the gym, but in the classroom, as the pre-med student has been accepted to Temple Medical School and waitlisted at Jefferson Medical School, both in Philadelphia. With a growing interest in orthopedic surgery thanks to his own medical struggle, Feduska said he will definitely be attending medical school back on the east coast, ensuring that Feduska will be near his family after graduation.

“I have a lot of family in Philly, so it’ll be nice to be able to go there whenever I need mental support,” he said.

Family and tradition are clearly major influences for Feduska, as his father and two older brothers all participated in Bengal Bouts.

“[One of my brothers] was a senior when I was a freshman, so he kind of showed me the ropes even before I got into Bengal Bouts,” Feduska said. “It wasn’t anything major, I’d just be throwing punches with him. One day he asked if I wanted to give it a shot, and I said ‘yeah.'”

Though his Bengal Bouts experience may have gone differently than planned, Feduska said that he has a new favorite aspect of Bengal Bouts.

“After I found out I couldn’t fight anymore, [my favorite part about Bengal Bouts] definitely shifted towards just being able to sit in the corner for people — especially when friends come through — and cheering them on, being an active participant right there in the corner telling them what to do,” he said. “That’s pretty cool.”

The senior said he is always more than willing to support any of his fellow boxers. 

“I’ll always be jumping around,” he said. “If there’s an open corner I’ll just jump into it. Even if I don’t know the guy at all I’ll still jump in and get really into the fight, just be pounding on their backs and yelling stuff at them. It’s not hard to get wrapped up in the fight of somebody even if you have no idea who they are.”

Looking back on his time at Notre Dame as a whole, Feduska said his favorite moment in college is his favorite moment of Bengal Bouts — just sitting there waiting for his fight. But Feduska added a few other memories to his Notre Dame highlight list.

“There have been some really good Friday nights — a lot of really fun Friday nights.”


Contact Kelsey Manning at [email protected]