Rafi Montalvo returns to Naval Academy after vehicle crash

(Photo courtesy Naval Academy)

Rafi Montalvo is back.

He’s back at the Naval Academy, back smiling and back with his extended football family.

But getting back has been traumatic, triumphant and so many things in between.

His amazing story begins last Thanksgiving. Montalvo was on break at home in Miami when the unthinkable occurred.

Montalvo was riding in a car driven by his friend when the car careened into a house. He was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. He was placed in a medically-induced coma.

After 16 days in a coma, Montalvo woke up and his life began again. He eventually was moved to a hospital in Richmond for what would be months of rigorous rehab. What helped keep him going? Football.

Montalvo returned to Annapolis in July and rejoined the team.

Montalvo's amazing road to recovery is sure to be a motivating factor for the midshipmen this season.

He won’t be able to play this season, but he can lift weights, run, and he vows to be back fully - someday.

Montalvo says he hopes to be a football coach some day after his career as a naval officer is over. For now, he's back and just one of the guys. He wouldn't have it any other way.