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Florissant Valley Campus

Professional Wrestler Becomes Registered Nurse

Chris Bradford

Chris Bradford, recent nursing graduate of St. Louis Community College, went from having a successful professional wrestling career to pursuing a nursing degree at STLCC- Florissant Valley.

What do professional wrestling and nursing have in common? On the surface, not much.

Bradford said the only commonality is the emotions that he elicits from people based on his activity. 

“When I’m in the ring, my physical actions to my opponent can cause the audience to feel a variety of emotions,” he said. “Same as if I where tending to a patient in distress. My compassion to help them will determine how they feel about the care I provide.”

Ever since he was 10, Bradford was a fan of professional wrestling. He would watch all of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) shows on cable television. His favorite wrestlers were Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. He remembers wrestling in his parents' backyard with his siblings on top of an overturned aluminum swimming pool.

“It wasn’t until I turned 16 that I found an advertisement for a professional wrestling school owned and operated by an independent company called Midwest Renegade Wrestling (MRW),” said Bradford. “I trained there for two years under the guidance of St. Louis wrestling veterans such as Ty Dalton, Makaze, Mike Sharona, Pete Madden and Keith Smith. MRW is where my whole wrestling career began.”

Chris Bradford  

Bradford competed under the ring
name Sean Vincent.

He competed under the ring name Sean Vincent, and several times won the light heavyweight and tag team championships. He competed until 2012.

“That’s when I decided it was time to take a break and accomplish another goal I had been putting off – to become a registered nurse,” Bradford said. 

While realizing his passion of being a professional wrestler was great, he was stepping into his 30s and still had not achieved his main goal of becoming an RN. Bradford said he was already taking classes part-time at STLCC-Florissant Valley, getting the necessary prerequisites completed so he could begin the nursing program.

“As soon as I received my acceptance letter, I knew the commitment I would have to make to graduate was far more than what I could give to wrestling,” he said. “December 2012 was my last month in wrestling before stepping away and beginning the nursing program.”

His inspiration for succeeding was his wife Erin.

“She was my main support during my journey through the nursing program,” Bradford said. “It was her commitment to working long hours and keeping our home running while I focused on studying that helped feed my determination to succeed. Without her the road to becoming an RN would have been a lot harder.” 
Besides professional wrestling, the other passion Bradford has is helping others in need. Bradford said he has always been a humanitarian.

“I enjoy assisting others no matter what the circumstances,” he added. “Becoming an RN completes who I am and I have an opportunity to change lives. I absolutely love helping people.” 

Bradford is currently studying for his nursing NCLEX examination. He hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing management.

“The Florissant Valley campus offers students support for those interested in attaining a bachelor’s degree,” he said. “Once I’m ready to tackle that goal, I’ll be seeking to use some of those resources offered.”

Will he ever go back to professional wrestling? Absolutely.

“I’m already training to be back in the ring full time by fall 2014, Bradford said. “Professional wrestling has always been a big part of my heart and will always be a part of my life. The two biggest companies in the Midwest I’ll be competing in are Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling and Dynamo Pro Wrestling.”

By Rachel Gomez