ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Peggar's journey to get back on the mat

By: Jenn Chapman Email
By: Jenn Chapman Email

"Not as nervous as I used to be freshman year, it's kind of just, it will be here. Let it come and I'll fight through it."

Fighting is not a new concept to Michael Peggar.

"For about three months when he was so ill, I just kept saying to myself, 'he's dying. I feel like I'm watching my son die in front of me," said Michael's mother, Tammy Peggar.

In July 2010, Michael was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colotis, a disease that affects the lining of the large intestine. When symptoms worsened in November of 2011, doctors removed Michael's colon.

"Puts things in perspective when you have health versus no health," comments Michael's father, Nate Peggar. "You don't take that for granted anymore."

Although, Michael was in pain, losing weight, and weakened, he watched practice from the sidelines.

"Watching other people, some of them just not really want to wrestle and they kind of give up, where I'd do anything to be there," says Michael.

We may take for granted the process of going to the bathroom. In Michael's case, he takes a small circular piece, sticks it to his stomach, his small intestine comes through the opening about an inch. That piece is then connected to a colonoscopy bag, which is also concealed this his stomach, and the waste goes into the bag.

"Shows you that even if you think some thing's bad, it can always be worse and he always made the best of it," says teammate Ross Peterson.

"I missed my junior year actually for a torn ACL and I thought I went through a lot ," adds teammate Mike Niles, "but it's nothing compared to his surgeries and what not that he had."

The battle Michael's body has endured embodies the spirit of a wrestler.

"He is the heart and soul of adversity," says Ladysmith wrestling coach, Steve Anderson. "He turns it into something positive. He's never backed down from anything and that's what we talk about. Never quitting, ever and he's never quit at all."

"If you're around him and you know the story, you better never complain about working hard," adds coach Scott Martino.

Michael was slated for a surgery this past November, but with the help of the WIAA and a little convincing of his parents to postpone it, surgery is now scheduled for the spring.

"I'm overwhelmed that I'm wrestling, my mind is just continuously going through wrestling, so that's (surgery) just kind of the next step after wrestling, the way I look at it," says Michael.

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