PANAMA CITY, Fla. – A former Arnold high school football player dreamed of playing at a high level, but those dreams were cut short due to an accident in his junior year.
Gunnar Gartner was sunbathing on Panama City Beach when the unimaginable happened. He was run over by a Ford Bronco as it was clearing jet skis from the water.
He suffered a broken lumbar vertebra, a torn meniscus in his right knee, and had several contusions and scrapes.
“I was fortunate to walk away, I didn’t have to spend any time in the hospital, recovery was through physical therapy,” Gartner said.
Even though he was lucky it wasn’t worse, he knew playing football was no longer an option.
“I don’t know if it was in the cards to play at the next level, but I always loved it and it was always my dream. I didn’t know what I was gonna do with it,” Gartner said.
He figured out that when he started volunteering with the Mowat Middle School football team. Coaching was a way for him to continue his love for the sport.
“He’s a great coach, he’s a great motivator,” Mowat head football coach Tony Davis said. “He’s very enthusiastic about his future, about the kids, about what he wants out of life. He’s got a lot of drive, a lot of drive.”
Gartner hopes to one day be a graduate assistant coach at any college football program, but for now he’s enjoying coaching at Mowat.