Swoboda fights through injury to help out new team

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Monday, September 11, 2017
Hunter Swoboda
Photo by WholeHogSports
Hunter Swoboda

Just a few months before his senior season was to begin, Bentonville West linebacker Hunter Swoboda (6-4, 210 pounds) broke both his tibia and fibula.

That happened at a camp in Benton and left Swoboda, who played his sophomore and junior seasons at Joe T. Robinson in Little Rock, on the ground thinking about his future.

“I was at the Fab 40 camp at Benton’s complex and I snapped my ankle when I hit a push sled that was left on the field,” Swoboda said. “It was just an unfortunate thing, something that I couldn’t control.

“Right when I did it, I sat up and looked at the dude who had been guarding me and told him, ‘I just broke my ankle.’ I looked down and that thing separated and I just kind of freaked out for a second.

“I was like, ‘I’m done.’ But I get to the doctor and thankfully God was good. We have a doctor that was a family friend up here...and he told me that he would put the tibia and fibula in my right ankle and some plates and 11 screws later, he told me that I had a chance - it wasn’t much of one - but I had a chance to get back by the first game against Pryor.”

Swoboda, who took in Arkansas’ game with TCU on Saturday, put in the rehab work and made it back for the Wolverines’ 48-13 season-opening win over Pryor, Okla.

“I took it and kind of ran with it,” Swoboda said. “I got back in 11 1/2 weeks and from what I hear from the trainers that is kind of crazy for a broken tibia and fibula. Right now I am just taking it week-by-week and trying to get back to 100 percent.”

Bentonville West coach Bryan Pratt admired the effort put in by Swoboda, who had more than 100 tackles in both his sophomore and junior seasons while also playing tight end.

“He is a just great young man and somebody we are so happy to have in our program,” Pratt said. “I felt so sorry for him when he got hurt, especially it being his senior season, but he didn’t get down about it and just went to work.

“The fact that he played the first game is amazing and is a testament to his will and work ethic. We are just playing him on defense right now, but we eventually have him on offense for us as well.”

Swoboda is happy to be part of Bentonville West’s 2-0 start, which included a 48-14 win over visiting Little Rock Central last Friday.

“It’s definitely cool being at a new program,” Swoboda said. “Being down in Little Rock is a lot different in being up here. I really like it. It’s a lot bigger. There is so much more we can do to prepare for a game and so many more people, so many more coaches.

“We are really disciplined up here, we are really, really playing well and we are just taking it one game at a time, trying to be 1-0 every week.”

He also gets to play with his younger brother Tucker Swoboda, a sophomore cornerback.

“Today we got ready to come out and I realized I standing here and my brother is standing right next to me,” Swoboda said. “It was just a great feeling. It so much fun to play with my little brother, especially when he is balling out like he is.

“He is really going turn a lot of heads and I am really hoping that some colleges will give him a chance.”

Swoboda has five scholarship offers from from Air Force, Army, Southern Arkansas, Georgetown and Missouri State.

“I'm really happy that those schools believe in me and they stayed with me even when I broke my tibia and fibula," he said. "They still believe in me.”

He took an unofficial visit to Air Force this summer.

“I just want to work hard this year and keep turning some heads and see what happens," he said.

He would relish the opportunity to play at Arkansas.

“I am a hometown boy,” Swoboda said. “I would love that.”

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