‘I’d go home every night and go to my room. I wouldn’t show anyone else, I’d keep it to myself and just let everything out. But I never once thought about giving up’.
In life, we all suffer setbacks. Obstacles often block our path. Some are easier to overcome than others. Problems must be faced, some great and some small. Some people meet challenges head on, while others find it more difficult. No matter our mindset, such things bind us together as human beings. We all encounter issues from time to time. It’s something that connects us.
One thing that always encourages us to overcome our own obstacles is the knowledge that, in doing so, we have the power to inspire others less well-equipped than ourselves to do the same. To set an example. To underline that, no matter the issue, we’re not alone in this life, that there’s always someone else facing difficult times and that even the highest hurdles can be cleared.
From time to time, we seek our own inspiration from other people out there, putting on a brave face, facing their demons and getting on with their lives. No-one we’ve encountered in recent times has inspired us quite as much as Koni Dole.
Less than 12 months ago, while playing High School football in Montana, the tough-tackling teenager suffered an injury. Injuries are common in such a physical sport, but not injuries like this. You see, Koni’s right leg snapped and, following five surgeries serious enough to be deemed emergencies, an infection so bad that doctors had no choice other than to amputate set it.
Koni lost his right leg from the knee down and, in the process, the sporting ambitions he had harbored since childhood disappeared forever. Or at least, so it seemed.
‘I’m not going to give up on my dreams yet,’ Koni said from his hospital bed last year, a statement that sounded like little more than bravado. It has proved to be anything but . . .
You see, having recovered from the initial trauma and launched himself into an intensive rehabilitation program, Koni acquired a specially-made prosthetic limb – a blade – that enabled him to start training once more. Earlier this year, to the astonishment of his peers, Koni returned to competition, at first wrestling for his High School and then running track. But he wasn’t finished there.
In recent days, Koni made his comeback for the football team, scoring two touchdowns in a typically-combative performance that inspired his side to a 45-0 triumph. This, don’t forget, a young man missing half a leg, the scars – both physical and mental – still fresh and the pain still present.
‘I just wanted to get out there and compete against other kids again and show everyone that I meant what I said,’ he said afterwards. ‘To overcome all this is the best feeling I’ve ever had. It’s an indescribable feeling’.
Here at OM®, we have nothing but admiration for Koni and, from the bottom of our hearts, we’d like to thank him. For having such courage and determination. For inspiring us and others. For not giving up during the dark times. For proving that, when we meet our own challenges, we can help others to do the same.
Not everyone can be as stout as Koni Dole but, in facing his problems, and in sharing his story, he makes us all stronger . . .