Gregory Wheeler, who was shot three times during a late July robbery in Linden Park, said the effort required to complete once-simple tasks has been the biggest adjustment he's been forced to make during his recovery.

Gregory Wheeler, who was shot three times during a late July robbery in Linden Park, said the effort required to complete once-simple tasks has been the biggest adjustment he's been forced to make during his recovery.

Doing laundry has become a Sisyphean undertaking, as have trips to the bathroom, which require him to hop one-legged up 20 or so stairs to the second floor of his North Linden home. Oh, and it can now take him an entire month to hatch a single egg when he was hatching upwards of three a day prior to the attack.

See, Wheeler, 27, is an avid "Pokemon Go" player - he was actually trying to help friend Samantha Haub catch a Vulpix (picture a squirrel as drawn by "My Little Pony" animators) at the time of the robbery - and the hatching of these digital "eggs" is fueled by footsteps, which have been in short supply since he was shot. These days, Wheeler, who sustained gunshot wounds to each thigh and another to his right foot that shattered four bones and partially severed a toe, gets around with the aid of a wheeled scooter. He expects to make a full recovery and resume walking by February or so.

Though slowed in his digital pursuits, Wheeler, an Ohio State graduate student studying evolutionary plant biology, never abandoned them. Just days after the incident, he posted a photo of his latest Pokemon capture: a Spearow perched at the end of his hospital bed.

He also took time out early in his recovery to post a note about his attack via Facebook that quickly spread far outside the expected circles. "I don't think it went full-on viral," Wheeler said during an early September interview adjacent to Mirror Lake on the OSU campus, "but it got around a little bit."

In the message, Wheeler detailed his feelings surrounding the incident, where he was attacked by a group of about a dozen children, ranging in age from 11 to 17, by his estimate, before he was shot from behind as he sought help at a nearby house. "I'm not angry at those who attacked me," he wrote, "though I am saddened." Wheeler went on to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement (his attackers were black), as well as some of the concerns that plagued him in those moments he lay bleeding on that stranger's front porch: Was his friend Samantha OK? (She was.) Would innocent lives be lost in the drive to bring the guilty to justice? (Thankfully not.) Is locking any young person away for an extended period the best means of rehabilitation?

As to that final question, David Sparks, the 14-year-old who confessed to pulling the trigger, was recently sentenced to 19 months in a state youth prison as part of a plea agreement worked out between prosecutors and defense attorneys. He'll be eligible for release in seven months.

"He'd be eligible for release … if he meets conditions, like, he gets good grades in his schoolwork and if he goes to therapy and he doesn't commit any other violations," Wheeler said prior to the announced sentencing. "I said, 'OK, that is probably more beneficial in the long run than locking him up until he's an adult.'"

Wheeler attributes his sympathetic view of his attackers to the sometimes difficult path he's been forced to navigate in life. "This is not the worst thing that has happened to me," he said.

As a teenager, Wheeler, a Gulf Coast native who grew up just outside New Orleans, was displaced by Hurricane Katrina, eventually settling in Starkville, Mississippi, where he attended Mississippi State University. More recently he lived through a difficult divorce.

"At this point I'm just like, 'Tragic things happen,'" said Wheeler, whose family lost everything in Katrina. "I've been through more things than many people my age, and that makes me somewhat empathetic when it comes to situations like this."

For about as long as Wheeler can remember, Pokemon has served as both a social outlet and a form of escape. In his much-shared Facebook post, the grad student noted "Pokemon Go" helped him conquer his depression, allowed him to get more exercise and served as a welcome boon to his social life, even landing him a date.

Wheeler first started playing Pokemon when he was 7, though it was forbidden in his private school because administrators considered it a form of gambling. Years later, when he won his first undergraduate research symposium and received a check for $100, he invested the funds in a Nintendo DS and "Pokemon Diamond," much to the chagrin of his academic advisor. "She made fun of me endlessly," he said. "'You're a legitimate scientist and you spent your science money on Pokemon?' Damn right."

When "Pokemon Go" surfaced in July and immediately became a shared cultural moment, Wheeler felt as though his childhood dreams were coming true. He recounted scenes of polar opposites bonding over a shared love of the game, like the clean-cut foreign exchange students approached by a dreadlocked, tattooed crust-punk - "I'd describe him as 'industrial,'" Wheeler said - who greeted the couple by asking, "Hey, did you guys see that Growlithe?" Wheeler, a noted introvert, also found himself interacting more with his fellow students.

"One of the things that happened, these two women came up to [my friend and I while we were playing 'Pokemon Go' on campus] - even recounting this it sounds completely ridiculous - and said, 'Hey, you guys look like experienced Pokemon battlers. Would you teach us how to be good at Pokemon battling?'" Wheeler said, and laughed. "And we just looked at each other like, 'Did this happen?'

"This was a thing where 10-year-old Greg thought, 'One day women will appreciate me for my Pokemon expertise!' And for a beautiful seven days it was real."

Though the on-campus popularity of "Pokemon Go" has waned somewhat in recent times - a handful of players could be spotted deftly flicking at the screens of their smartphones during a short walk around Mirror Lake where Wheeler captured a Psyduck lurking near a fleet of actual ducks - the grad student remains a somewhat recognizable figure, using his left leg to propel his wheeled scooter around OSU.

"For weeks after [my Facebook post] I had people coming up and asking if I was the guy," he said. "It's a silly thing for people to know me for. Now when people ask, 'Are you that guy?' I've started to say, 'Oh, you've seen my research?'"

Not that he isn't enjoying certain aspects of the notoriety that have accompanied these so-called 15 minutes. As our interview drew to a close, Wheeler struck up a conversation with a woman playing "Pokemon Go" at a nearby table, filling her in on the Pokemon-themed group he's in the process of incorporating as an official student organization (it will be known as the Ohio State University Augmented Reality Club). After explaining her relative newness to the game, and learning of Wheeler's comparatively veteran trainer status, the woman looked up from her phone and said, "Show me your ways."

While it's a safe bet 10-year-old Greg was somewhere inside beaming, there was no doubting the smile sported by the full-grown, 27-year-old version seated here. And so the summer of Pokemon continues, calendar be damned.