The physical and mental strength of an athlete is what inspires them to overcome catastrophic injuries like a blown knee that Goddard senior Dalton Bowles suffered during his junior year. But what a remarkable comeback story he had quarterbacking the Rockets this past season.
He led the team to a 9-2-1 record and a 5A semi-final appearance against Los Lunas. Unfortunately, the Rockets lost. The next phase of his life begins in the fall. He signed on with the New Mexico Military Institute Broncos and will compete for a starting safety position.
But let’s backtrack to just over a year ago when Dalton’s future was uncertain. His father Ben Bowles, a local chiropractor, reflects on the injury that sidelined Dalton. “He tore his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), fractured his femur. He was out seven weeks, and he probably should have been out longer. But he was dying to come back, and basically played on one leg during district and still received all-state honors at safety,” said Ben.
But if that wasn’t bad enough in May of last year, “he fractured his ankle, we were uncertain if he would even play his senior year. But he rehabbed it. And did what he needed to do. He didn’t even begin pulling railroad ties till a week before the first game,” said Ben.
With back to back injuries, Dalton displayed exemplary courage and competitiveness, and he was not going to be denied getting back on the gridiron. He began a rigorous conditioning program.
His mother Kelly Bowles recalls, “truly his work ethic is incredible. On the day of the injury, he was on crutches and he was sitting on a chair lifting weights for his upper body. It was thrilling to see that his hard work paid off, he just persevered.”
And if this sounds like Dalton’s comeback was attributed to his family’s support group, it’s because it was. “My ily is my rock,” Dalton said proudly. His sisters, Sydney, a sophomore at Goddard and an accomplished ballet dancer, Lily an eighth-grader at Berrendo and his nine-year-old sister Harley who by the way will have a role on this year’s NMMI Bronco team, rooted him on during his rehab.
“We worked through it together, pushed through some hard times, in the end, God is good,” proclaimed Ben. Dalton shares that same faith. I always knew God’s plan was going to be the best plan for me. So whether or not I got to play my senior year, I knew everything was going to be alright, it brought a lot of comfort to my life.”
There was another blessing when NMMI offered Dalton a scholarship to study and play in his hometown. “I had Ft. Lewis, West Texas A@M, Eastern New Mexico and Western New Mexico looking at me.
“I prayed about it a lot, and I just felt God wanted me to go to NMMI. It is the best opportunity for me, I’ll be playing at home close to my family,” said Dalton.
“We’re thrilled to have another season where we can watch and cheer him on, he was so mature through this whole process,” said Kelly.
The schools that recruited Dalton were impressed with his versatility. “Some of them wanted me to play safety, others at quarterback, one wanted to me to play both. However, NMMI won out, where his sister Harley also will be the ball girl.
For all that his family means to him, Dalton also praised his football coach Chris White for playing a significant role in his success. “I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without coach White. He was a mentor to me and my teammates. He taught us the value of integrity and doing the right thing even when it was hard to do. He taught us how to be men.”
And for what Dalton has already been through NMMI’s motto of duty, honor, and achievement is a perfect fit for both.