Former El Molino Football player now on the Cheer Squad

September 26, 2016

dt-common-streams-streamserverAzur Ingrassia is on his hands, face inches from the track, counting off calisthenic reps with teammates.

There is nothing terribly unique here. Ingrassia, now a senior at El Molino High School in Forestville, grew up playing football. He knows push-ups, he knows laps on the track, he knows group workouts.

But this isn’t football. The football team is one field over. These days, Ingrassia works out with the Lions’ cheerleading squad.

“In terms of social fun, I’ve had more fun on cheer than in football. It’s a lot more of a group thing,” he said. “I was raised by a single mother, so I think I’m prone to getting along with women more than guys.”

He likes the camaraderie. Guys, he said, sometimes base friendship on one-upping each other. Not that he misses that entirely.

“That was fun,” he said. “I do miss the competition; hitting people with my body. I’m a physical person.”

“But I can’t go back,” he said. He paused and added, “I can, but I don’t want to.”

It was just over a year ago when Ingrassia sought a doctor’s opinion about his neck pain and incessant headache. Scans showed a mass at the base of his brain. Further looks found a cyst on his pituitary gland. Ingrassia described it as like having a water balloon embedded in a cake; if it breaks, fluids could short out critical hormonal functioning.

In November of his junior year, surgeons went through his nose, drained the fluid and burned away the cyst’s membranes.

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