H.S. player makes amazing comeback

You want to talk about heart? Then let’s talk about Koni Dole.


Last October, Dole suffered a severely broken leg during a football game for Huntley Project High School in Montana. His injury eventually led him to develop compartment syndrome, which involves a lack of blood flow to a specific part of the body (usually a limb) after an injury. The condition can be life-threatening so when it developed in Dole’s right leg, doctors decided to amputate.

And that was about the time Dole decided he was going to play in his team’s season opener the next year.

It’s supposed to take eight weeks to learn to walk with a prosthesis. It took Dole three. He was already running by the time most amputees are learning to walk.

"He pushes us farther than most", his doctor, Jay Murray, told Missoulian.com, which followed Dole’s recovery. He reaches a maximum, and then wants more.

By January, Dole was wrestling for Huntley Project again and 10 months after his accident, he was back on the football field in a prosthetic leg, pass blocking, running through drills, catching passes out of the backfield.

And now, when Huntley Project opens its season Friday against Joliet, Dole will play.

This feat required much more than determination. Dole uses a blade prosthesis, like the ones sprinter Oscar Pistorius uses. It’s a relatively new technology without which a leg amputee would not be able to seriously compete in a sport that requires running. Pistorius stardom turned his prostheses into objects of controversy, with some wondering whether a double amputee actually had an unfair competitive advantage over the other sprinters. Pistorius ultimately was allowed to compete in the Olympics, and the Montana High School Association came to the same conclusion about Dole’s prosthesis.

The pain gets pretty intense sometimes, Dole said. I try to push through it, but sometimes it gets so bad I have to sit out a few plays…Other than that, I still feel like I can play at my best.

The future certainly looks bright for Dole. He was recently offered a walk-on scholarship from his dream college, Montana State University.