David Robarge’s life has been a battle since early childhood. The 33-year-old, deaf since he was 5, has endured multiple car accidents, survived brain surgery, and, most recently, severely injured his hip after falling off a roof.
In addition to this, Robarge has been targeted by bullies because of his short stature and physical disabilities. Robarge believed that wearing two hearing aids made him more likely to get picked on by bullies at school, so he would remove one in hopes that it would curb the harassment he endured. Not only did it not stop the bullies, but he caused permanent damage to his right ear by not wearing the hearing aid.
As an adult, he became afraid to go out by himself and grew depressed. His depression and anxiety would have continued had it not been for a chance encounter on Facebook with Brian Ruscio, owner of Grappling Mastery, a local gym specializing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Ruscio sent Robarge a friend request and invited him to visit his facility and try out Jiu Jitsu. A year later, Robarge credits Jiu Jitsu and the Grappling Mastery team with changing his life. He has become a more confident person and is giving back by helping young kids learn Jiu Jitsu as well as how to deal with bullies.