Defensive tackle Sonatane Lui put together a great season for the Broncos. At season’s end, he was named as an honorable mention All-Mountain West player.
His absence in Boise State’s Las Vegas Bowl appearance against Washington was a surprise to many. The Broncos certainly weren’t better for it, either. The team fell 38-7 to the Pac-12 power.
As it turns out, Lui played through a significant injury all of last season. He suffered a fractured spine last summer, which got significantly worse over the course of the year. In January, during a practice for the Hula Bowl, a Hawaii-based college all-star game, he felt a “pop” in his back.
He went to the hospital with a loss of sensation in his feet and “tingling” down his legs. There, he was advised that he shouldn’t play football any longer. It’s a brutal outcome for the senior, coming off of his best college season.
Former #BoiseState DL Sonatane Lui dealt with a spine injury all last year. He said he barely practiced en route to All-MW honors.
Now he’s calling it a career.
“I felt a pop in my back and I couldn't feel my feet and had tingling down my legs.”https://t.co/oMqZHS4gIL
— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) May 8, 2020
Sonatane Lui said he developed spinal stenosis during the fall. The condition allowed him to play through pain, but he didn’t practice much during the season.
He made sure to be clear that it was his decision to play through things, and not anyone else this past season. He tells KTVB that he is at peace with how his career played out, and wanted to let people know why he missed the bowl game.
It’s funny that so many times. Ultimately, my answer is always the same: I got everything out of football I could’ve asked for. It was rough though, I mean, my wife can tell you the amount of time she’s had to help me out of bed. I wish I could have played my senior season fully healthy, but I thought I did pretty well for not practicing or doing anything like that.
With his Boise State career in hand, he is currently set to take the LSAT and go to law school, with his sights on working in corporate law for a tech company. He also wants to coach football, and wouldn’t mind giving back to the Boise community down the road.
Honestly, I’d love to come and coach football here in Boise. It’s a really cool place. Especially for me who’s a big proponent of the Polynesian community, a lot of Polynesian families are moving here, and I’d love to see how their skills develop here in Idaho.
We wish him the best in his future after graduation, and of course, with his ongoing health as he enters the post-football phase of his life.