In one vehicle is mom, Julie Chavez, and son, Dominic. They are traveling the highway out of Colorado toward home, at a rate of speed that is the maximum allowed by the law. In the car behind them are dad, Robert Chavez, and the rest of the family. If it seems like they are in a hurry to get to their next destination: It’s because they are anxious to get back home, to Roswell.
The last time the family lived a normal life was July 2, 2019. They have all had to adjust to living a new normal since that tragic day, July 3. This life has kept them on the road and relocating to Englewood, Colorado. For the last nine months, the Chavez family has called two places home: Englewood, Colorado, and Roswell, New Mexico.
For the readers who might not know what happened, Goddard football player Dominic Chavez was injured during football practice on July 3.
His family released a statement at that time that read, in part: “Our son, Dominic Chavez, accidentally injured his neck at football practice. Dom broke C5 and there was a displacement of the C5/C6 vertebrae with spinal cord involvement.”
They reported he had no feeling from his chest to his lower body and was unable to move his legs. He has been undergoing rehabilitation in Englewood, Colorado.
This week, as the family took a break from driving home, Robert Chavez granted an interview to RDR Sports. Robert Chavez talked about the road the family has been on since that fateful day. He talks about how God has given patience to an impatient man. He tells of his deep love for his wife, Julie, whom he just celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary with on March 12.
The main topic was about his eldest son, Dominic Chavez. The conversation centered on everything the whole family has been through in the last nine months. How Dominic has stayed upbeat through everything he has endured. Robert Chavez has a lot to be grateful for this year.
“Dominic has been upbeat,” Robert Chavez said. “He just wakes up and does the work each day. He stays positive, it’s amazing.”
Doctors have told Robert Chavez that 1 millimeter either way on the hit Dominic took, and they could be having a different conversation. Instead of trying to get him to walk again, the family could be visiting his grave.
To the naked eye, this story might seem to be about #Dom Strong. It is, a part of it; but this story is how both dad and son are intertwined, and how Robert Chavez really is a man that cares about the community he lives in and the school he teaches at. The family’s struggles became our struggles as all can identify with Dominic. The Roswell and Chaves County community have opened their arms and embraced the Chavez family.
When Robert Chavez has cried, the community has cried with him. The Roswell community knows what it is like to reach down and give from their heart with time, money and love. Robert Chavez’s struggles have been made public because of his son, Dominic.
Robert Chavez’s pain has become our pain. We all have pain in our individual journeys that life walks out for us daily. Robert’s story is about a man’s quest to be a good man, person, husband and father. His story is about keeping his faith in God. Dominic Chavez’s story is about how a father — Robert Chavez — and son, find the fortitude to keep going in the midst of their upheaval.
Dominic has finished his rehabilitation in Englewood, Colorado, and he can continue his ongoing rehabilitation in Roswell.
Dominic Chavez returned home on Saturday, quietly and with no fanfare. When school is back in session, he will attend up to twice a week. He plans to attend graduation, provided it is safe.
Next Sunday, RDR Sports plans to go behind the scenes and give the readers a look at the family, what they have gone through these past nine months, from the hit that required Dominic to be life-flighted to UNC El Paso, Texas, to him being told the prognosis of his injury, to his continual recovery.
Read the rest of the Chavez story, next Sunday.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.