Emilio Bunnell: Keeping his screws in place


Jessica Streich

Despite his dramatic injury, Junior Emilio Bunnell recovered to continue on to play both varsity boy’s soccer and as a labero for varsity boy’s volleyball.

Athletic injuries are no less common than the common cold.  That being said, an injury could be the kiss of death for some athletes, as they can threaten to end the career of even the most decorated athlete.  To overcome this possibility, junior, varsity soccer and volleyball player Emilio Bunnell, shocks the Avocado West League by starting in the league soccer championship game this past Feb. 21, six months after a break in his ankle.

“Months ago during the club soccer season, someone was shooting and the ball hit the bottom right stud of my cleat,” Bunnell  said. “At first I thought it was a simple ankle sprain, because I simply walked away from it, but obviously I was wrong.”

The injury threatened to prevent Bunnell from playing in his first year of varsity soccer, and at first seemed a routine grievance for the young soccer star.

“I chipped off part of my bone and I walked more and more on it, moving it out of place until it required surgery,” Bunnell said. ” And not wanting to give up playing soccer helped me push through my physical therapy because the doctors said there was a chance I would never be able to ever play again, plus my scooter helped.”

Bunnell’s path to recovery took months of effort and time, until he found his health well enough to get back on his feet and out of his motorized scooter.

“My recovery took a total of three months,” Bunnell said. “First off I got the screws in my ankle, then I was in a cast for two months, after that I took little touches on the ball until I could run, and finally I went back to playing after I was cleared by my physician. Which was a relief since there was now so much space for activities.”

Bunnell entered the CHS varsity soccer team mid-season and began to take a role amongst his teammates as starting forward. He soon found himself in contention for the prestigious “most inspirational” award at the end of the year soccer banquet.

“Emilio is always a welcome addition to the team, we’ve been awaiting his arrival back from his injury as he is a goal scoring threat up top,” senior varsity soccer captain Sam Oakes said. ” he also serves as an inspiration to the team showing us what is possible with perseverance.

Upon reflecting on his struggle to overcome his injury, Bunnell now has a positive outlook on this experience.

“The whole process tested not only tested my physical strength but my mental ability as well,” Bunnell said. “As I was hoping for the best, but knew I would not go back to how I was playing before due to the constant fear of breaking my screws and re-injurying myself. Which often times held me back from playing to my fullest, but as time went on I have learned to overcome my fears and play in a way without injuring myself.”

Bunnell is also part of an elite group of two sport athletes, as a starter on both varsity soccer and varsity volleyball.  So the benefits of his return multiplied through the athletic community at CHS.

“Luckily it does not affect volleyball as much since my position as Libero does not really involve jumping, which is great considering my little heart world break because my love for these sports is so great.”

In the weeks to come Bunnell continues his soccer season in the CIF playoffs, playing La costa Canyon in the Open Division quarterfinals, Wednesday Feb. 26.