Koni Dole: Amputee Returns to GridironBy: Erika Watts - September 4, 2013
High school football player Koni Dole is proving that he won’t let anything get in the way of his dreams of playing football—even an amputated leg. The Huntley Project senior out of Worden, Montana returned to the field on Friday night less than a year after losing his leg.
Dole’s leg was amputated below the right knee last October doing the thing he loves most, playing football. Most leg breaks don’t require amputation, but after losing blood flow to the leg, which became infected, the doctors had no choice. If the doctors hadn’t made the decision to amputate Dole’s leg, the infection may have spread to his bloodstream, which could have been lethal.
“As soon as I learned I might have to amputate, I started looking up amputees that play sports and made the promise that I’d be back on the field,” Dole said in an interview with Good Morning America. “The doctors were telling me that I’d never play football again, so I just had that in the back of my head like kind of driving me.” While it’s understandable that some thought the teen would never play another down of football again, Dole proved them very wrong. Not only did he play in a game where his team won 45-0, he scored two touchdowns as well.
When Dole went out on the field Friday night, he held nothing back. Dole played on offense and defense in the game, and scored the team’s first touchdown while playing fullback. He later recorded a sack. “Just to overcome all this, and to be back on the field with my teammates, is probably the best feeling I’ve ever had,” Dole said after the game.
An amputee participating in sports isn’t unheard of, especially since Oscar Pistorius participated for South Africa in the 2012 London Olympics wearing prosthetics similar to Dole’s. Dole’s story, however, is in part so unlikely because of how quickly the teen bounced back. After much rehab and training, Dole was wrestling as early as January and even ran track in the spring.
To make an inspiring story even better, Dole’s chances of playing college football aren’t gone. He has received a preferred walk-on scholarship offer from Montana State, the college he wanted to play for all along.