Playoff Loss leads to a Life Saving Discovery


Coach Mark Bonis leads the Brother Martin football team workout. Bonis suffered a life-threatening injury during the Fall 2019 football season. Photo credit: Daniel Cardenez

Daniel Cardenez

The day before the 2019 Louisiana High School Athletic Association semi-final playoff game, Brother Martin High School Head Football Coach Mark Bonis had a life-threatening scare.

Coach Bonis felt a pop in his back while moving an ice chest to his car. At first, he and his assistant coaches thought everything was fine.

“It was just lower back pain,” Bonis said. “I’ve coached with a lot worse.”

Little did Bonis know he caused a tear to his body’s main artery. Coach Bonis thought nothing of it and was focused on facing Rummel High School in the state semi-finals. The winner of the semi-final would advance to the Louisiana state championship.

The Brother Martin Crusaders lost the playoff game to the Archbishop Rummel Raiders 37-27.

The Crusaders’ loss led to Bonis’s wife forcing him to seek the medical attention he needed, he said. Bonis found out from the doctors that his injury was much worse than he thought and required life-saving surgery.

The following day, after Brother Martin had heard the news, all students and faculty dropped to one knee at noon to pray for coach Bonis. Brother Martin’s football team quarterback Garrett Mmahat recalled his experience when he found out the news regarding coach Bonis.

“The team and the rest of the school were all shocked, but we came together and prayed for him,” said Mmahat.

Bonis was surprised himself and knew it was a miracle he survived.

“Medically speaking, from what I know, the reason why I am here today is because of the support and the prayers I received from everyone,” Bonis said.

If Bonis did not go to the doctor, his attention would have been focused on the state championship, and he would have never received the medical attention he needed, he said. Bonis’s friend and assistant coach, Jonathan Norris, is relieved and believes everything happens for a reason.

“What an amazing blessing it was that we lost, because knowing Coach Bonis like I do, I know he would have pushed through all the symptoms he ended up having and it could have have been a disastrous result.”

Coach Bonis does not want to lose any game, much more a playoff game leading to the state championship, but he knows deep down it was a godsend.

“In the end, although we were heartbroken that we lost our semi-final football game, for me it was definitely a blessing in disguise, because if we would’ve won that game I wouldn’t be standing here today,” Bonis said.