#CFCOVFL: Domanico makes triumphant return to Spears

 

Since the summer of 2011, Mikey Domanico has been playing for the Niagara Spears.

He has been the recipient of the Zack Duguay Award twice. This award is a memorial for the past Spears’ player and is awarded to the player that demonstrates leadership, hard work and dedication to the team.

Last year against the London Jr. Mustangs at home on Kiwanis Field in Week 3 of the OVFL season (June 6th, 2014), Domanico suffered a knee injury. He was sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, LCL as well as a partially torn meniscus.

“I was attempting to block a punt after a bad snap,” said Domanico.  “The punter faked it, and ran with the ball.”

“As I went to pivot off of my right leg, I felt a pop and I immediately fell to the ground.”

In only three games for the Spears last year, Domanico registered 12 assisted tackles, 8 solo tackles and a solo sack.

Since the injury, he has had surgery and has recovered to what he says “feels like 100 percent.”

“The rehab process was long and painful at certain points,” added Domanico.  “It was especially hard when I first got off crutches.”

“Pacing myself was the hardest thing for me as all I wanted to do was run.”

Additionally, he kept a positive mindset after his surgery.

“I never had any doubt that I would make a full recovery,” said Domanico.  “As the rehab process finally came to an end, I was extremely excited to get back on the field.”

“I had never felt more anxious in my entire life and all I could think about was getting back out.”

Mike Domanico

Throughout his rehabilitation, the majority of his training was based around upper body exercises.

“As I progressed I got back into my normal regiment of Olympic lifting and then back into my Crossfit circuits that consist mostly of Olympic lifting, power lifting and calisthenics,” added Domanico.  “Then finally, I back into sprinting and assorted track orientated drills/ activities.”

“Through this injury I was able to work on the weak points in my body. I was able to improve my upper body strength, speed, agility and lower body strength. I am lighter, faster and stronger then I have ever been in my life.”

While Domanico has returned to the field with Spears this season, he is facing another challenge. For the past two years, he has played linebacker. However, because he is one of the younger players in the Varsity Division, he has begun the transition to the halfback position.

“The transition was difficult at first but as the season has progressed I have started to become more adjusted to the position,” added Domanico. “It was especially difficult at first because of the huge difference in speed and size of the players that I have to cover from junior varsity to varsity.”

“It’s almost like night and day, but over time you get used to it.”

Mike Domanico 1

Aside from the Spears, Domanico also plays for Dennis Morris Redmen of the Niagara Region High School Athletic Association (NRHSAA). Additionally, he is a two-sport athlete as he also competes in wrestling and has won the bronze medal three consecutive years at the Southern Ontario Championships.

Domanico is set to graduate from Dennis Morris in 2016, but is likely to return for a Victory Lap.

As for the recruitment process, Mike is keeping his options options open but is considering Guelph, York and McMaster as frontrunners.

The Spears standout also has future academic and career aspirations.

“My preferred course of study in university is kinesiology or human nutrition,” added Domanico.  “I hope to use this degree to become a nutritionist, physiotherapist or a naturopath.”

In the coming days and weeks, Domanico is improving his speed, flexibility and footwork so he make improvements to his game.

“My goal for this season is to become a full-time starter and continue to improve through my positional transition and increase my football knowledge,” said Domanico. “Before university I would like to increase my strength and improve my leadership skills so that I will have the best chance of making a team.”

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