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Bemidji football: Dickinson recovers from broken bones in neck to help lead Jacks defense

Dylan Dickinson, right, and the Bemidji?defense contained Mankato West quarterback Philip Nelson during a state Class 4A semifinal last Friday at the?Metrodome. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Dylan Dickinson is one of the anchors of a dominant Bemidji High School defense that has overpowered the offenses. If it were up to his doctor, however, Dickinson would not be stationed across the line of scrimmage from opposing quarterbacks.

"When I was a freshman I was snowboarding and doing some back flips," Dickinson, who will join his fellow Lumberjacks at the Metrodome at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Class 4A state championship game against Rocori, said. "One one of the back flips I messed up and landed on my neck."

When Dickinson hit the ground he fractured the C6 and C7 vertebrae which are located close to where the neck becomes the spine.

"The doctor decided to put me in a brace and eventually told me that I could act normally. And when I felt better I rushed things," Dickinson added.

The return to active living so soon after the injury proved to be the wrong thing to do. The fractures did not heal and, eventually, surgery was the best option.

"They took a bone from my hip and used it to fuse the two vertebrae," Dickinson said. "I can fully move the neck now but the doctor recommended that I don't play football with it."

Dickinson did not play as a sophomore but prior to this season the junior and his parents weighed the pros and cons of returning to the team

"My parents and I decided that I should play," Dickinson said. "And I am so happy that we made that decision."

During the regular season Dickinson had 65 tackles and three sacks in eight games. So far in the state tournament he has five solo tackles.

"As outside linebackers Brady Schmidt and I have outside containment," Dickinson said. "Against Mankato West last week containing the outside was a challenge because of the quarterback (Philip Nelson). We had some problems at the start but Brady and I were able to get the hang of what we were supposed to be doing and we were able to get our biggest win of the year.

"This week against Rocori our challenge remains the same - contain the quarterback (Nate Meyer)," Dickinson continued. "We have another challenge ahead of us. But we like challenges."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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