Back in May, sportswriter Carlos Arias (known for more than 25 years of work at The Orange County Register, Extra Innings Softball, and more) suffered a severe stroke, was taken to hospital, and was set to be removed from life support almost a week later so his organs could be donated. But then, on the day he was set to be taken off life support, his eyes opened, and he was able to communicate by blinking. He indicated that he wanted to stay on life support, and he managed to start making small movements, and progressed to a point where he was able to go home in August. Arias has now resumed writing for Extra Innings Softball, and while he still has challenges (his right foot isn’t yet functional, so he uses a walker, and he can’t drive yet), he’s pulled off a remarkable comeback, as his former Register colleague Mark Whicker details:
Someone told Carlos last week that he was the easy winner of the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2021. He laughed and wanted to know if there was a plaque.
“It was crazy,” he said. “I was pretty foggy through it all. Then I found out they were going to take out my organs without me knowing it. I’m glad they waited a couple of hours.
“I’ve had so many people say nice things. I hear people say Twitter is evil, but to me, it’s all good. And the physical therapy has really been crazy. I go in twice a week. This woman, Janelle, has taught me how to fall down properly, how to go to the shower, little tricks on doing anything. You never know what somebody can teach you until you’re sitting there, helpless.”
Many of Arias’ past colleagues, from the Register and beyond, lit up Twitter with tributes to him around Whicker’s piece Wednesday:
Miracles do happen. @MWhicker03 tells this story of one all of us at the OCR were hoping for.
“You never know what you can learn from someone who left a space in the world and then reoccupied it.”https://t.co/QzABPsOI2S
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) November 24, 2021
So many of us were heartbroken when we heard former @ocregister and @ocvarsity colleague Carlos Arias might not make it. Our @MWhicker03 beautifully captures the comeback story of the year.https://t.co/tnGCCAd5E7
— Todd Harmonson (@tharmonson) November 24, 2021
Great insight from @MWhicker03 on @Los_Stuff @PunchyMcGee ?⬆️
Carlos Arias’ miraculous journey from past tense to Thanksgiving present https://t.co/8SwqWfl22J @arielhelwani @RMoralesPT @SteveFryer @MAlvarez02 @CapoValleyHS
— Dan Albano (@ocvarsityguy) November 24, 2021
— Steve Fryer (@SteveFryer) November 24, 2021
Such a great comeback by my pal Carlos Arias https://t.co/ClykC4RvDF
— Robert Morales (@RMoralesPT) November 24, 2021
— David Delgado?? (@DavidDelgado_OC) November 24, 2021
That’s an amazing story about Arias, and it’s great that he’s been able to physically recover as far as he has. Hopefully he’ll be able to keep building on that. And it’s also cool that he’s back to covering sports regularly, less than six months after this stroke. Here’s sending him and his family all the best this Thanksgiving.