Buoniconti, Citadel end 20 years of estrangement

3/19/2006 - College Football

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- For Marc Buoniconti, two decades of
estrangement disappeared with the greeting.

"Marc, welcome home," Citadel Board of Visitors chairman Billy
Jenkinson said.

Buoniconti returned to the Citadel, officially welcomed back to
the corps more than 20 years after an on-field injury in 1985 left
him paralyzed from the shoulders down.

He arrived in town Friday, met with school administrators and
officials and reconnected with South Carolina's military college.
Buoniconti was anxious about his reception -- he had last been at
the school for the 10-year reunion of his 1988 graduating class --
but those worries evaporated in Jenkinson's words.

"I think it hit home for me that I was always hoping to come
back and be part of such a great college, great people with a great
history," Buoniconti said Saturday.

Buoniconti was left with a severe spinal cord injury while
making a tackle against East Tennessee State. He spent a year in
the hospital, then filed a negligence suit against the school,
including the team doctor and trainer. The school and trainer, Andy
Clawson, settled the case for $800,000.

With the help of Buoniconti's teammates, Citadel reached out to
Buoniconti after the 20-year anniversary of the injury. The
school's board of visitors voted to retire his jersey at an
upcoming football game next fall and Buoniconti was invited to the
campus this weekend.