Arkansas pitcher Patrick Wicklander journey has been anything but easy. During his time with the Razorbacks, the junior had to battle for a starting spot and he even had to battle for his life.
Over a year ago, Wicklander was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes and had a stint at the hospital in Arkansas where he fought for his life.
“Watching him come back from being diabetic and finding out he was diabetic and almost dying to where he’s at right now is just a blessing,” said Howard Wicklander, Patrick’s father.
Wicklander built himself back up to be the go-to starter for Arkansas with the determination his father says he’s always had inside him.
“He’s always been a fighter. He’s the type of person that if you tell him he can’t do something, he’ll prove you wrong. It doesn’t matter how he does it.”
Not only did Patrick grow to become the game one ace for Arkansas, he also grew into a role model.
Wicklander inspired young fans that also have TD1. One of those fans, Maverick, who has Type-1 Diabetes even brought a sign to a game, calling Wicklander their hero.
Patrick would reach out and schedule meetings with them after games, sign autographs and show them that even though you may fight a daily battle, you can achieve anything.
“Seeing him just reach out and touch people is just incredible,” said Howard. “It’s incredible to see him just not let anything stop him from going forward. Him reaching out to kids and giving them hope is just awesome. It’s completely awesome to see him do that.”
After Arkansas’ game three loss to NC State at super regionals, Wicklander sat alone on the mound at Baum-Walker Stadium, soaking in what could be his last time in a Razorback uniform. And he told his father exactly what he was picturing.
“I said, ‘what were your thoughts’ and he goes, ‘Dad I just went out there to see the last time throwing to Casey Opitz and reminiscing for all the players that have come and gone,'” Howard said. “(Patrick) said it was one of his best experiences in life was playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks.”
Wicklander, a rising senior, has not yet announced if he will stay at Arkansas or forgo his final year at to pursue a professional career in baseball.