Now healthy, D’Ovidio Prepared to Hit Again
By HARRY FREZZA
Tony D’Ovidio hasn’t watched film of the Hillsborough High School football team’s game with Hunterdon Central last Oct. 24. He doesn’t need to, since he knows his contribution by heart.
D’Ovidio was playing cornerback when Central’s Jared Delello broke free for a few yards on the Red Devils’ first play from scrimmage. D’Ovidio moved up and made a tackle, but as he fell he felt pain in his left leg.
What D’Ovidio experienced could have been a nightmare. He dislocated his left hip.
“I knew when I hit him something was wrong,” D’Ovidio said.
What happened next was the biggest play of the night. Hillsborough’s team doctor, Dr. Charles Gatt Jr., put the hip back in place. Total time: about seven minutes.
“We were really lucky we had a doctor on site,” Hillsborough coach Vin Coviello said.
D’Ovidio said he didn’t feel any pain until he was in the ambulance on the way to St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick.
“I didn’t feel a thing. I was joking with the coaches and the paramedics,” he said. “It didn’t start throbbing until the ambulance. I’m lucky the hip was ony separated for seven minutes.”
Hip dislocation occurs when the head of the thigh bone (femur) slips out of its socket in the hip bone (pelvis). A physician usually can spot a hip dislocation simply by looking at the position of the leg.
“I was only down for a month and a half,” said D’Ovidio, who needed crutches and a divide that made sure he didn’t roll over while sleeping.
Before the injury, D’Ovidio caught seven passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. After his recovery, he ran some winter track, then cleared 12 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault in the spring.
Now he’s back playing football, and his coach said he hasn’t seen any lack of aggressiveness.
“He’s the same as always,” Coviello said. “Nothing is holding him back.”
D’Ovidio said an MRI six months after the injury showed everything was fine.
“It takes a lot of energy for your hip to pop out,” D’Ovidio said. “I haven’t hesitated. I feel great. The blood is flowing right.”
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