Koni Dole, a football player with Huntley Project High School in Montana, will take the field just like thousands of others across the country Friday night as the football season opens. One difference though: Dole will do so while playing with a blade prosthesis after the Montana High School Association cleared him to play.
In an amazing, heartbreaking, and inspiring story, Dole suffered a horrific broken leg in a football game last October, and had to have his lower right leg amputated after he developed compartment syndrome following surgery. He set a goal to be back for the first football game the next year, while he was still in the hospital. By January, he was already back wrestling (the details of injury and recovery are in this story from February)
The day after he was released from the hospital, Dole met with his strength and development coach, Adam Husk, in the school’s weight room. He was in a hurry to get back to his regular routine — lifting weights every day before and after school, and three times a week during Husk’s extracurricular weight-lifting class.
And although Dole often feels discouraged and impatient with the pace of his recovery, he is far ahead of the curve.
Dole’s prosthetist, Jay Murray of Treasure State Orthotics and Prosthetics, said that in the time it takes most amputees to learn to walk proficiently, Dole is learning to run.
Murray said typically after a leg amputation, it takes at least eight weeks to begin learning to walk using a prosthesis. For Dole, it was three weeks.
“He is progressing at an exponential rate,” Murray said. “He pushes us farther than most — he reaches a maximum, and then wants more.”
That exponential rate has continued. Less than ten months after the amputation, he is out running full speed with the use of the prosthesis, blocking, running, and catching passes. According to the KRTV.com report, Montana State has already offered Dole preferred walk on status to its football team.