USask Huskies’ Kubongo leaving his mark on and off the field after knee injury

The University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team is 6-0 so far in the 2022 season.

A big reason for that success is the play of first-year Huskies running back and kick returner, Ted Kubongo.

Kubongo transferred to USask from the UBC Thunderbirds in the offseason.

It’s been a whirlwind the past couple of seasons for Kubongo. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a significant patellar tendon (knee) tear in 2021 in off-season training, he hadn’t been on a football field since 2019.

Kubongo says the injury was so bad, the doctor said there was a good chance he would never be able to play football again.

“The patellar tendon injury is usually a career-ender. It’s not a common injury. I’ll know when it’s a career-ender. If you put your mind to it and the work, I promise you, you will get the results you are looking for,” said Kubongo.

His drive, mentality and determination have really shown in his first year with the dogs.

So far in 2022, Kubongo has set the Huskies record for a kickoff return touchdown, as he returned one 102 yards against Manitoba.

He also has two touchdowns on the ground and two more receiving.

Kubongo has had a positive impact on his coaches and teammates.

“He brings a lot of energy to the team, is mentally tough, has been through a lot with his injury, got through that, coming back to be a fantastic football player still,” said fellow running back Ryker Frank.

“He has been a great teammate, he loves the team, and the team loves him. It shows, guys rally around him, the sport he has been, the teammate to the group here, the characteristics you are looking for. He is an exceptional human being, not just on the football field,” said head coach Scott Flory.

Kubongo says the decision to join the team was an easy one. He gave a fellow Calgary native on the team a text before it was official.

“I gave linebacker Nick Wiebe a text and said I think it’s time, and the rest is history,” Kubongo said.

“It doesn’t matter if you are the first year or the fourth year, a red shirt or coming off an injury, they are a close-knit family, everyone is brothers on this team,” Kubongo added.

For Kubongo, taking care of his mental health while rehabbing was the most important and something that can be overlooked.

“When you are going through rehab, you’re going through an injury, it’s not just physically, it’s mentally too. I have to thank God to get me back here. Even though the odds were against me for the injury, I’m healthy right now, I’m back and I knew I would be.”

His goal with the Huskies is to take this team back to the Vanier Cup after nearly capturing the title in 2021. The Huskies have two regular season games remaining before the playoffs begin.

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