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Dubowsky is football’s real MVP

Dubowsky poses with teammate Sal Silvio before a Loper home game. He has made good friends with the entire football team thorughout his time at UNK.

Athlete earned jersey despite cerebral palsy, 2 back surgeries

Chris Langin

A typical 4-year-old has a few dilemmas throughout their day. Perhaps mom and dad decided against purchasing that Blue’s Clue’s notebook last time they went to the store. Later that night, broccoli, and not the kind with cheese on it, was a prerequisite for that cup of vanilla ice cream. Not to mention, sprinkles weren’t even accompanying the bowl of desserts that couldn’t have been more than half a serving size. 

For a typical 4 year old, this may be a tormenting 24 hours. The words “why me” constantly hindering the child’s thoughts as he searches for just one more bite of ice cream.

While an ice creams hortage is the typical plight of a 4 year old, Andrew Dubowsky was experiencing something much different at the age of 4. 

Back surgery. 

Now a senior at UNK, Dubowsky was undergoing the surgery due to Cerebral Palsy, a condition that affects the muscles along with posture. 

“I’ve had two surgeries, the surgery on my back at 4-years-old was to lengthen my muscles so I could stand up straighter,” Dubowsky said. “And then, when I was 10-years-old, I had surgery on my hamstrings, groin muscles, and Achilles tendon on my right foot.” 

These surgeries allowed Dubowsky to move around more freely. However, the surgeries didn’t allow Dubowsky to do the things many take for granted. His disorder prevented him from walking, although his upper body is well defined from having to transport himself around.

“I didn’t really start to understand what difficulties I could possibly face until around 7th or 8th grade,” said Dubowsky. “I really started to realize I was a little different than other people. It was a difficult time to get through.”

Dubowsky, who grew up in Kearney, joined the wrestling team at Sunrise Middle School in 8th grade.

“It just made me feel like I was a part of something,” Dubowsky said. “I used wrestling as something to motivate me to get up every day and face those difficulties. If I could do that, I could be successful in anything I want to do.”

After participating in wrestling at Kearney High and graduating in 2015, Dubowsky decided to attend UNK. He contacted Marc Bauer, the current Athletic Director at UNK, who was coaching wrestling for the Lopers at the time. 

“He got back to me really quick,” Dubowsky said. “He came up to the dorms with a couple assistant coaches on the first day I moved in.” 

Just like that, Dubowsky was a member of UNK Athletics. It didn’t stop there.

When Josh Lynn was announced as UNK’s football coach in January of 2017, Dubowsky pulled a Baker Mayfield and simply showed up to the Lopers practice unannounced. A few more appearances from Dubowsky and the team rewarded him with a jersey to wear during the Spring game. 

“Ever since then, I’ve basically been a part of the team,” Dubowsky said.  

While he may not impact the game with statistics, the benefits he provides don’t go unnoticed from those surrounded by him. 

“Andrew is a great guy and the whole team loves him,” said Sal Silvio, who leads the MIAA in tackles per game. “He has many difficulties that he has to deal with throughout the day, but his positive attitude and huge smile never sways. Andrew brings a little extra motivation to each of us and it means a lot knowing how dedicated he is to being a part of the team.”

Dubowsky doesn’t plan on moving away from sports anytime soon, as he hopes to either coach football or work for a Minor or Major League Baseball team in the future. 

Regardless of what Dubowsky chooses to do, his story and resilience will continue to inspire. 

“Any difficulties you face in life, go straight at them,” said Dubowsky. “Dream big, don’t limit yourself to what you can accomplish … because anything is possible.”

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  • D

    Devon DaireNov 16, 2018 at 11:28 am

    You the man Andrew

  • D

    Dave LukensNov 15, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Good article—well written and a great message.