Resilient 'Rider rebounds

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

Once in a while, it's the substitute teacher who gets taught a huge lesson.

Matt Dominguez found out the hard way how lucky he is to be able to play football in the summer and teach high school in the winter.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver tore up his knee in the third game of the 2005 season, knocking him out long enough to still be a spectator for the playoffs, where the Roughies lost in the first round.

When Dominguez returned this season and rediscovered the form he showed in 2003 and 2004, he would often be reminded of how great it feels just to be able to walk.

"I met a kid who has cancer but is one of the biggest 'Rider fans ever," said Dominguez.

"I met a gentleman who was in a wheelchair and was a longtime fan. He developed a terminal illness.

"Things like that make you reflect on how this is just a football game but also how you should be grateful for it.

"It gives me a greater appreciation for what I can do. It was also tough to watch all those games last year and now I cherish it a little bit more."

Dominguez is once again the Roughriders' go-to receiver when Saskatchewan heads into McMahon Stadium Sunday to take on the Calgary Stampeders in the West semifinal (2 p.m., CBC).

Solid numbers -- 72 receptions for 1,169 yards and five touchdowns -- earned Dominguez his first West Division all-star nomination this season.

"Everything I accomplished this year was 16 or 18 months after having serious ACL surgery," said Dominguez, 28.

"You have to take the good from that and think about all the work I put in and how it paid off."


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