Athlete Spotlight: Morgan De Lago 

By Staff

The 2022 football season for the Benicia Panthers was a difficult season, with many players out with long-term injuries, along with losing many seniors from the successful season last year. One player who inspired the entire team was Morgan De Lago. A junior at Benicia High, has shown the highest levels of maturity, poise, optimism, and leadership throughout the year despite his season ending injury that occurred in week 4. His actions inspired his teammates, as well as his classmates. 

During the fourth game of the season, Morgan broke his tibia and fibula in one play. It immediately changed everything for the Panthers, as the team leader in rushing yards and team captain, this hurt the entire team. De Lago averaged 108 rushing yards per game through just three and a half games before his injury. He also led the team in touchdowns with six total touchdowns. After injuring himself, he faced some hardships.  

The recovery period of a broken tibia and fibula can span from three to six months, requiring progressive strengthening and physical therapy. While the physical aspect of the recovery process is extremely difficult on its own, recovering mentally was the hardest part for Morgan. Some people thought he wouldn’t be able to play football again, but he had other ideas. Just a month after the injury, Morgan was already able to put weight on his leg, and was showing rapid recovery. “The recovery process has been hard mentally but not too bad physically” he said. Getting taken away from football halfway through his junior season was what got to him the most. Immediately after the injury, De Lago said he knew his leg snapped, and he worried about what the rest of his football career held in store.

Maintaining physical fitness is obviously important when you’re an athlete, and it is not exactly easy to work out when your leg is snapped in two. Despite his injury, Morgan still lifted weights, and worked all the muscles he could while recovering from injury. This kind of discipline is what separates your average student athletes from those who are ready to play at the college level. To be able to work around an injury takes an awful lot of mental fortitude, when talking to Morgan about the mental aspect of this injury, he said, “The mental side was definitely a lot harder than I thought it would be”. He mentioned how difficult it was to watch his junior season from the sideline, and hopes to be back for his senior season better than ever. 

Luckily for Morgan, his tibia and fibula break will be healed within the coming months, giving him the opportunity to be ready for Friday night lights next season. Even with his season ending injury, Morgan is looking forward to getting on the field, and continuing to show off his skills. When asked about the bright side of this injury, he said it added motivation for him to become the best player possible. This type of mental and physical strength is what makes a student earn the Athlete spotlight. 

Morgan will be back to play next season, and he’s not the only one excited about getting back on the field. Coach Craig Holden looks forward to having his biggest threat back on the field, stating that, “It will be nice to have Morgan back next season, I am sure he is itching to play football”. The entire Benicia High School community is right there for Morgan, many people posted on Instagram wishing him well. The support hasn’t gone unnoticed however, as De Lago said the support he’s received has played a huge role in his recovery. After going through one of the most grueling injuries a player can go through, Morgan stayed strong and showed great maturity and poise. In hindsight, the injury brought the team together, and taught Morgan extremely valuable lessons that he will need if he wants to continue his football career beyond high school. 

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