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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Citadel honors Buoniconti with win

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Winless going into Saturday’s game, The Citadel apparently responded to a pep talk from former linebacker Marc Buoniconti and held off Chattanooga 24-21 to get its first victory of the season.

“Today I feel like more of a whole man,” said Buoniconti, the former Citadel linebacker who was left paralyzed from the shoulders down after making a tackle against East Tennessee State back in 1985.

Buoniconti was on campus on Friday to celebrate his 40th birthday. He received a class of 1988 Citadel ring, spoke to members of the football team and saw his jersey retired.

On Saturday, he addressed the crowd of 12,757 from the blue-and-white checkered end zone at halftime, surrounded by family and friends. Citadel President John Rosa and athletic director Les Robinson held a frame with Buoniconti’s No. 59 jersey behind him.

“I am proud to be finally able to say ‘I wear the ring,’ ” Buoniconti said to loud cheers from the crowd.

Buoniconti, who was 19 when he was injured, spent a year in the hospital and later filed a negligence suit against the state military college. The school and trainer reached an $800,000 settlement during a 1988 trial.

Years of estrangement between Buoniconti and the school followed.

But the relationship thawed last spring when Buoniconti attended the college’s Corps Day and the school decided to retire his jersey.

Buoniconti and his father, former Miami Dolphins All-Pro Nick Buoniconti, have raised almost $200 million for The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

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