How Malaky Lewis hasn’t let his physical disability get in the way of his wrestling career
By Greg Levinsky Globe Correspondent,Updated May 28, 2020, 10:43 a.m.
Jessica Lewis knew her son Malaky’s physical disability would not hold him back.
Malaky was born with amniotic band syndrome, and had his right leg amputated when he was 2½ years old. Jessica remembers that after the operation, Malaky surprised everyone at the doctor’s office.
“He tried on his prosthetic leg and he just started walking,” she said. “Everyone just stopped. They could not believe he was running. He started walking on his own without any type of physical therapy or anything.”
Now an 18-year-old graduate of MATCH Charter School in Allston, Malaky is a budding wrestler with a passion for coaching.
“I love wrestling because of the community it gives you. Wrestling is all inclusive, you meet good people,” Malaky said. “Other sports, it’s not as common where you have an amputee playing, there’s a lot more caution around it.
“Wrestling, it’s a different feeling. When I step on that mat, everything that happens stays on that mat.”
Malaky’s introduction to wrestling came from a Boston Youth Wrestling demonstration in a 10th-grade enrichment class. His school didn’t have a wrestling program, so Malaky sought one-on-one coaching from the program at a practice at Boston University’s Fitness and Recreation Center.
“I couldn’t do much sports-wise, but I’m a very physical person,” said Malaky, who lives in Dorchester. ”After I got on that mat, there was a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Malaky loved to play basketball and football with his friends, but couldn’t participate in an organized league. He enjoyed watching his friends play, but wanted to find a sport where he could fully participate.
With that first class, Malaky fell in love with wrestling and found a team and community he so yearned for.
This past winter, he participated on the Boston United high school team, which was made up of students who don’t have school programs.
Keith Bodden, one of the Boston United coaches, lauds Malaky’s responsibility. He remembers taking him to his first tournament, where Malaky was upset he didn’t win every match. Now, Malaky has the ultimate respect for the sport and what it brings.
“It’s giving him life lessons,” Bodden said. “With his disability, he didn’t see it as a hindrance to him.”
Last summer, Malaky completed a 150-hour coaches in training program through Boston Youth Wrestling, preparing him to coach wrestlers in grades kindergarten through fourth participating in BYW’s Boys and Girls Club program.