Last October, football player Koni Dole, from Huntley Project High School in Montana, suffered a horrific injury that many suspected would end his sports career. Dole, however, decided that this setback wouldn't keep him from his favorite activities, including wrestling and football. That’s not to say that he thought it would be an easy road to recovery.
“I felt discouraged when I thought about how much work I put in before this happened,” Dole told The Missoulian. “It was hard to make myself get out of bed every morning to work out. I kept asking if there was even a point to any of it anymore.”
During Huntley Project’s final game last season against Shepherd, Dole took a brutal hit below the knee that turned out to be a compound fracture. The extensive trauma to his leg turned into a potentially life-threatening condition known as compartment syndrome, which deprives tissue and muscle of blood flow.
Six surgeries later, doctors gave Dole two options: keep the leg and never play football again, or amputate the leg to have a chance of playing. The answer was a no-brainer. The leg was coming off. “I told them to take it,” Dole told The Missoulian. “I couldn’t be left with the option to never play again.”
This past Tuesday, the Montana High School Association cleared Dole to play in Huntley’s upcoming season opener versus Joliet. The good news doesn’t stop there. Dole also received a preferred walk-on football scholarship with Montana State University.
"These days get long with my leg hurting and everything, so it was a giant relief to hear that and get that out of the way because we've been worrying about it for a couple weeks now. After all this hard work, I was just like, really?" Dole explained to KTVQ.