BONIFAY, Fla. (WMBB) – This week’s Scholar Athlete of the Week sponsored by Perry and Young P.A. is Holmes County’s, Dakota Thomas.

Thomas was a three-year starter coming into his senior year playing Center for the Blue Devil’s football team, but on the first day of summer, practice tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus, putting an end to his season before it ever began.

“When it happened is was obviously panic, but at the same time I was hopeful because you never think it can happen to you,” Thomas said. “You never know when you play your last snap but ultimately, when I found out my season was over, it was probably the hardest time of my life.”

While Thomas couldn’t physically lead his team on the field, he did everything possible for them off of it.
He knew held knowledge and wisdom from his previous years playing that he could share with his teammates, and without skipping a beat, stepped into a new role coaching from the sidelines.

“First off he was really hesitant how they were going to handle it,” Holmes County head football coach Jeff Lee said. “And I said you get in there and I took him through some things and I talked to him about it and after the first game he came to me and says now coach I understand or I feel a little bit about how you guys feel, because it’s sort of like the game starts and it’s out of your control, you know it’s really the players.”

In his new role, Thomas thrived, whether it was for instructional purposes, motivational purposes, or simply just cheering on his team from the sidelines, he found his niche.

“I want to go into the military and you know I think I want to get that G.I. bill and I think I want to be a football coach,” Thomas said. “So it’s been great and that’s one of the main things getting hurt I mean it’s really opened my eyes to what I want to do after high school and I realize that football means everything to me, so at the end of the day, I want to be a part of it regardless.”

While Thomas wishes he could have been on the field with his team this season, he knows his injury was all part of a greater plan, and his most important lesson learned was patience, as life’s biggest opportunities could be right around the corner

“It’s like an alarm clock,” Thomas said. “My alarm clock went off before everyone else did, and you know it’s just unfortunate but it’s something that they’ll understand one day just like I do.”