An honorable comeback

After a hard season, senior Sebastian Rodriguez receives the THSCA Academic All-State nomination


Photo by Paola Duran

Senior Sebastian Rodriguez listens to Coach Frank Martinez in a post-game huddle, surrounded by his teammates.

As he fought to get up after a hard fall at the Fort Stockton game on Oct. 8, senior Sebastian Rodriguez instantly knew something was wrong. The adrenaline rushing through his veins kept him going through every offensive play, but once the game was over, the pain was unbearable. Rodriguez couldn’t walk on his left leg. 

That day marked the end of Rodriguez’s football career. Every year had ended up in heartbreak as he had suffered a torn meniscus, a torn ACL, which he had already tore years before, and bone contusion. His teammates, parents, and even his coaches advised him against playing again; Rodriguez refused. 

“It was bittersweet, because I didn’t realize what this season meant until it finished. I didn’t realize that was the last ride,” Rodriguez said. “Last year, after I tore my ACL the second time, everyone told me that I should not go back. Last year Coach Telas said, ‘You need to reconsider.’ When I started summer workouts some people would say, ‘Yo, you’re crazy if you’re gonna keep playing,’ but it’s just something I wanted to do because I wanted to cherish it. So I made the most of it.” 

His determination didn’t go unnoticed. At the end of his senior year, he was surprised by Coach Martinez with the Texas High School Coach Association (THSCA) Academic All-State nomination. Rodriguez was the only one on the varsity football team to be selected for this award. The qualifications include having excellar involvement in the sport, good moral character,  and having a GPA 92 or higher. 

“It kinda caught me off guard, but I have a place of that in my heart mostly because it shows my devotion to not only athletics, but to academics as well,” Rodriguez said. “I was able to maintain that high of a GPA and IB classes on top of the work I put into football.”

After these past four years of blood, sweat and injuries, Rodriguez is ready for that chapter in his life to be finalized. Instead of being on the field, he hopes to help those with injuries off the field. Regardless of this change of course, the life lessons he learned in those four years will last him a lifetime. 

“The biggest thing I learned [in football] was perseverance, but I don’t think [continuing football] is in my best interest especially because what I realized in high school football was, it takes a lot of dedication, school aside,” Rodriguez said. “In college, I am looking at pursuing a career in kinesiology and being able to help people rehabilitate their injuries.”

Sebastian Rodriguez shakes his dad’s hand at the end of a game.