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"Ryan Hutchings - On the Road to Recovery"

by Denise Wattles

Ryan Hutchings. If you have met him you have formed an opinion about him, he is that kind of man. Either you like him or you don't, but you will remember him. He is a fierce competitor, an exceptional armwrestler and an outstanding athlete. He is also, at this moment, in a coma in critical condition in a hospital in Redding, California, a victim of a horrible crime. I wish this was fiction but unfortunately it is not. A man whom I care alot about is literally fighting for his life. Little did Ryan know that all the work he has done in the gym to prepare for the competition in Curacao in November would be used to fight for his life, not for the title and award he so desired at the International Championship. Whether you care for Ryan, as I do, or you don't like him, I know you will agree that NO ONE deserves what has happened. This story is based mostly on facts but partially in theory as Ryan has not been able to communicate with anyone since early evening Thursday, September 24th,1998.

Sometime between 4 and 5 PM on September 24th a man about 6'3" and 240 lbs. approached Ryan at his place of work with a loaded gun. Ryan was forced into a car by a man who had the intention of abducting him and taking him to another location to shoot and dispose of him. Robbery was the last thought in the head of Danny Paplinski, 42, who turned himself in to the authorities in Reno, Nevada the following morning, admitting to his involvement in this horrendous crime. Danny's only concern was to rid himself of a man he was jealous of. I can imagine that when Ryan was forced, at gunpoint, into the car that Danny told him exactly what he intended to do to him. In the following moments Ryan was able to struggle with this man and get the gun from him only to get shot in the stomach in the process. Ryan did succeed in getting the gun and getting out of the car before Danny sped off with glass flying from the window of his car that Ryan had shot out after falling to the ground with a broken collar bone and a bullet still lodged inside his body. I am not sure who reached Ryan first, the owner of the diner where Ryan lay in the parking lot, or the police, but Ryan was able to give a description of his assailant before he lost consciousness. Upon his arrival at the hospital Ryan had already lost more than half of the blood in his body and required 30 units of blood just to keep him alive to determine the extent of his internal injuries. As it is known now, Ryan has lost a kidney, his spleen and the bullet had nicked his aorta, which explains the excessive blood loss. On Friday September 25th Ryan endured 2 major surgeries to repair the damage to his internal organs. The following days were the hardest for his wife, Leace, and all his family and friends as the doctors weren't very optimistic about Ryan's survival. The surgeon relayed that had Ryan not been in the exceptional physical shape he is, he would not have lived long enough to even make it to the hospital on Thursday. It was also forecast that if Ryan made in through Monday the 28th that he should recover. Ryan has been kept in a drug-induced coma and on a respirator for the last 5 days so all his energy will be used to heal all the damage. On Monday evening and today, Tuesday, the doctors have been weaning Ryan off the drugs and respirator and seems to be doing okay. I understand that he was even able to respond to one of his family members by opening his eyes and nodding tonight. What good news!

I will be attending the 37th Annual World Wristwrestling Championship in Petaluma on October 10th and will also take extra time to visit with Ryan and his family. Ryan had intended to referee at the same tournament and he will be greatly missed but we are thankful that he is safe, and alive.

As for Danny Paplinski, he is being held on $500,000 bond in Reno being charged with attempted abduction and assault with a deadly weapon. I am anxious for Ryan to be conscious and tell us exactly what happened so this man can be punished for trying to end the life of a man who has done so much for, and so much in the sport of armwrestling.

I am sure Ryan would love to hear from you. If you would like to send him a card or letter they can be sent to: Ryan Hutchings, c/o Donovan Hutchings, 5911 Fairmont Blvd., Redding, CA. 96003.



Good news.  Ryan is conscious and doing some walking around the hospital. He has lost several organs and will have a substantial recovery time. Naturally he gets depressed at times and really appreciates cards and letters.  If you have the time please send them to the above address.

Dave Devoto


Update  10-16-98

I talked to Ryan this morning.   He told me that yesterday the doctor told him that upon arrival at the hospital he had no heart beat and was not breathing.  The doctor said he was dead upon arrival.   He had lost massive amounts of blood and in a few minutes, perhaps seconds, there would have been no chance of revival. The doctor also stated that it was only because of Ryan's superb physical condition that he survived.  I tried to kid him by saying he is causing me a lot of extra work because of all the email and phone calls I get requesting information regarding his condition.  Rather than get a typical reaction like "you deserve it" or some sarcastic remark which he is so capable of I got a weak voiced sincere "I'm sorry". It made me realize even more what a horrible nightmare this has been for Ryan.  Please send him a simple card or letter wishing him a speedy recovery.

Ryan Hutchings, c/o Donovan Hutchings, 5911 Fairmont Blvd., Redding, CA. 96003.


Dave Devoto



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