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The Drill: After stroke, ‘Eddy’ Artiga still maintains a busy schedule

WORTHINGTON -- Catch the eye of Erik "Eddy" Artiga, and get ready to return a smile. The Worthington High School senior is always personable, always friendly, and always a good conversationalist. No wonder he's one of the most popular students on...

Erik Artiga 02 27 19 web.jpg
Artiga
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WORTHINGTON -- Catch the eye of Erik “Eddy” Artiga, and get ready to return a smile.

The Worthington High School senior is always personable, always friendly, and always a good conversationalist. No wonder he’s one of the most popular students on the WHS campus.

So it’s probably no surprise, then, that he was named Homecoming King this year.

Life for Eddy Artiga was going pretty fine until a Jan. 13 stroke threw a scare into him, and into all who knew him. The stroke was a total surprise, of course, because strokes always are. Especially with Eddy, who would have thought it could happen to a healthy and energetic wrestler like himself?

A key member of the Trojans’ varsity wrestling team this season, Artiga had just placed second in the Big South Conference meet, and he had every reason to believe that this was the year he’d achieve his goal of qualifying for the state tournament.

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But fate had something else in mind.

“After conference, I got second place, went to a hot tub with friends. We just sat there for a bit, and an hour later we got out,” he recalls. “I felt different on my left side. My left arm, left leg started to become weak. As a CNA (certified nursing assistant) I figured out I was having a stroke. But I didn’t know how bad it was. And I just told my friends, ‘I don’t feel the best,’ and they kind of sent me to the hospital.”

The stroke temporarily paralyzed the left side of Erik’s body and suspended his vision. Fortunately, his movement and his vision quickly returned. But it meant the end of his wrestling career.

So instead of a wrestler, he moved quickly into a new role as an assistant coach with the Trojans. He saw his job as a motivator for his teammates. It was a job he was always well suited for.

Artiga, who plans to attend Bemidji State University after graduation and enroll in a four-year nursing course, likes helping people. During his time in high school, he’s receiving lots of opportunities to support others.

The Globe featured Erik (or Eddy, depending on your point of view) in The Drill recently. You can see the video online at The Globe at www.dglobe.com . Here’s a sampling of the interview:

QUESTION: How did you handle the stroke emotionally?

ANSWER: “The stroke ended my wrestling career. I didn’t really know how to take it, as a senior. It was my last time to show what I had, the last chance to go to state. A lot of teachers and coaches came up to me. They said, ‘I’d rather see you with a family and a future than dead or paralyzed.”

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QUESTION: You were Homecoming royalty this year. What was that like?

ANSWER: “Getting crowned was just the best feeling, because everybody was clapping for you when they called your name. I don’t know how to explain it. It was just a good, joyful feeling.”

QUESTION: Why do you go by the nickname, Eddy?

ANSWER: “I had a neighbor that was called Erik, and we were both named Erik. And my brother would hang out with us a lot. And he would call us by Erik and we would both answer, and it got annoying at one point. His dog was named Eddy, and the dog didn’t really like both of us -- me and my brother. So my brother called me Eddy and the dog wouldn’t pay attention.”

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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