Aron Fa’afetai

#OneEagle. It’s a very popular trend on social media among the students of West High, especially athletes. The hash tag signifies a unique sense of unity and pride throughout the entire school. When seen online, it usually follows an endearing post and words of encouragement. These types of posts typically precede sports events such as football games, basketball games, and wrestling matches. Recently, the hash tag has been used to comfort and inspire one of their own: freshman wrestler, Aron Fa’afetai.

Aron is an outstanding athlete who has been playing a variety of sports since he was very young. He is the second oldest in his family and attends West High with his older sister Annett. Both are very active, and participate in as many sports as they can. Their father, Tusi Fa’afetai, helps the C Team football coaches and always supports his two children in any and every sport they play.

The final week before winter break, Aron was seriously injured. At the time, he was at wrestling practice. Aron had volunteered to help one of the coaches demonstrate a wrestling move. It involves rolling your opponent a certain way in order to pin them. Something went horribly wrong, and Aron was paralyzed.

Soon after, he was rushed to Alaska Regional and then Providence Hospital. His family later found out that he had a slipped disk in the cervical region of his spine, which would leave him temporarily paralyzed. Aron underwent surgery to have the disk straightened, and his spine strengthened. Aron hadn’t even woken up from surgery before waves of support from family, friends, and coaches started pouring in.

“It was overwhelming, definitely. But in a good way,” his sister Annett recalls. Students at West High made signs, cards, posters, and the Student Government page on Twitter posted: “We are with you, Aron! #OneEagle #Rooting for AronF.”

Aron is now undergoing extensive physical therapy in Seattle, Washington. Although his sister gets teary-eyed going to school without him some days, she says, “He’s strong. He’ll make it.

There are some bad days when he feels sorry for himself, but then he just gets right back up there again with that smile.” With the support of his own family and his family at West High, Aron is expected to fully recover and be back in school by February 27th.