Buena Vista, Iowa, wrestler starts a new job, helps save Walmart co-worker’s life


From small cities to huge cities, each wrestler brings a narrative to the mat and carries it with them. Win or Lose.

The Des Moines Register

Diego Aguilera is a late-blooming wrestler who made his method from Texas to Buena Vista College in Storm Lake this summer season to pursue his ardour.

As Aguilera has discovered, good wrestlers want the flexibility to assume rapidly, act decisively and, most significantly, execute in huge moments.

The freshman wrestler’s fortuitous path to high school and a job in Iowa put him in the suitable place on the proper time a couple of weeks in the past to train these traits — and assist save a life.

On Sept. 17, Aguilera was in his first day of labor on the Walmart in Storm Lake. He was being skilled as an affiliate within the produce division by a colleague in his 60s. They stocked cabinets into the night, then retired to a break room within the again.

There, Aguilera mentioned, the person clutched his chest and slumped over a field of bananas.

“I noticed his head begin tilting again and he simply regarded increasingly relaxed,” recalled Aguilera, who doesn’t bear in mind the identify of his new co-worker. “He mentioned he didn’t really feel effectively and couldn’t breathe. Then his face turned white, and he began sweating.”

The person was having a coronary heart assault.

Aguilera  jumped into motion. He checked the person’s pulse and felt it decelerate. He began chest compressions — which he discovered by means of highschool wrestling — and when the person regained consciousness, Aguilera requested him questions to assist him keep awake.

“I used to be asking him about his children,” Aguilera mentioned. “Their names, their ages, simply so he may give attention to one thing. I figured getting him to consider his children would maintain him engaged.”

After a couple of minutes, the person lastly spoke.

We want a code white, Aguilera recalled him saying, which is Walmart’s code for an accident.

Aguilera sprinted out of the break room and to the customer support desk, which led him to supervisor Kristy Wagner, who confirmed the story when reached by the Register. She known as for police and an ambulance. Once they arrived, Aguilera helped information them to the again room. The person was ultimately taken to a hospital in Sioux Metropolis.

It wasn’t till the following day that Aguilera felt the load of the entire scenario.

“In my thoughts, it wasn’t actually scary in that second,” he mentioned. “It was extra: What can I do proper now to assist? It wasn’t a matter of being scared or considering I can’t do that. There was no time to consider it. I needed to maintain shifting.

“Simply speaking about it and remembering what it was like — man, it offers me chills.”

It was one thing of a small miracle that Aguilera ended up in Storm Lake that day.

Aguilera grew up in Pharr, Texas, the oldest of three siblings. He didn’t begin wrestling till his freshman yr of highschool. A coach at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Memorial discovered his center identify is Goku — sure, just like the warrior from the Japanese anime tv collection “Dragon Ball Z” — and begged him to attempt.

“My dad actually likes ‘Dragon Ball Z,’” Aguilera mentioned and laughed. “He made a cope with my mother. She may give me my first identify if my center identify was Goku.”

That first day of observe uncovered a hidden ardour. Aguilera wrestled all 4 years for the Wolverines. As a senior, he went 33-7 whereas competing at 113 kilos.

“I had by no means performed a fight sport or something like that,” he mentioned. “However I fell in love with it. Stepping on the mat for the primary time, it was loopy.”

Forward of his senior season, Aguilera attended a wrestling camp in Columbus Junction. For the primary time, he noticed the fervour Iowa has for the game. Wrestling is huge in spots in Texas, however nothing fairly like in Iowa.

On his method again house from the camp, Aguilera remembers considering to himself, I’ve to return.

Not lengthy after his senior season, Buena Vista made contact. That was all Aguilera wanted. He formally signed in Might and moved to Storm Lake in mid-August.

Mark Rial, Buena Vista’s head wrestling coach, didn’t assume an excessive amount of when Aguilera known as him two weeks in the past. Freshmen usually name with numerous questions and considerations in the course of the first month or so after shifting to campus.

However Rial, who’s getting into his third yr because the Beavers’ coach, was blown away when Aguilera shared his Walmart story.

“It’s fairly wonderful,” Rial mentioned. “I’m simply so impressed with the maturity. He’s in a brand new place, distant from house, so for him to try this with out a second thought, it’s fairly unbelievable.

“You at all times put your self in these conditions. , what would you do? I’d hope to react the identical method he did.”

Aguilera’s Walmart episode has added to an fascinating first few months in Storm Lake.

A couple of weeks earlier than, he had been uncovered to a different Buena Vista scholar who had examined constructive for the coronavirus. He needed to quarantine for 2 weeks, throughout which he attended all his lessons just about and did push-ups and squats to remain in form.

Then, simply final week, the American Rivers Convention, of which Buena Vista is a member, introduced that winter sports activities competitions gained’t begin till Jan. 1 due to the continued pandemic.

Wrestling practices, nonetheless, start Thursday. The Beavers are aiming to enhance on final yr’s 12th-place end on the Division III Decrease Midwest Regional Event. Aguilera hopes to vie for the beginning spot at 125 kilos.

And after Aguilera flashed his means to behave rapidly and execute when it issues, Rial is happy to see his freshman take these expertise to the mat.

“There’s plenty of issues that wrestling teaches you, and people are a few of them,” Rial mentioned. “You ask anyone that’s wrestled, these are a few of the perks that folks can take away from the game.”

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and highschool sports activities for the Des Moines Register. Comply with him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.

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