Rafi Montalvo’s Facebook profile picture shows him throwing a pass while playing quarterback for Navy. That was during a junior varsity game when Montalvo was a promising freshman.

Unfortunately, Montalvo will not get to realize his dream of starting at quarterback for the Navy varsity football game.




Montalvo, whose miraculous recovering from a near fatal auto accident made national headlines, has resigned from the academy. The Miami native has returned home and said he will take summer classes at nearby Florida International while serving as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Immaculata-La Salle High.

Montalvo made the decision to resign after being told by doctors he would not be cleared to participate in spring practice. In addition, academic advisors informed him that he would need to improve his grades in order to rejoin the football team.

“When the doctors decided to take away football that was heartbreaking, especially after everything I’ve been through,” Montalvo said. “Football is what brought me to the academy, so I had to decide whether I wanted to stay there without it. It’s a high stress level with all the academic and military responsibilities. I just realized it wasn’t for me.”

Montalvo had still hoped to receive clearance to resume his football career, but was told by doctors at the University of Miami that it would be ill-advised, due to brain scarring that was a result of the severe head injury he suffered in the accident.

“They told me that I was lucky to be walking and talking as well as I am,” Montalvo said after the doctors reviewed the MRI results.

Montalvo was the passenger in a vehicle driven by a close friend that slammed into a house located at the base of a dead-end street on a foggy Thanksgiving night in Miami in 2012. He suffered a severe head injury and was placed in a medically-induced coma in order to hasten the healing process.

Prior to the accident, Montalvo had risen to third on the depth chart at quarterback and was slated to travel and dress for the Army-Navy game. Stickers with Montalvo’s initials were placed on all the Navy helmets for the Army game and the specially-designed jersey he would have worn was sent to the hospital.

Doctors brought Montalvo out of the coma after three weeks and he then spent seven months in rehabilitation facilities in Florida and Virginia. He returned to the academy last summer and resumed classes while remaining classified as a plebe.

Montalvo attended almost all of Navy’s practices this past season, but was not allowed to dress for home games or travel for road games because he was not listed on the roster as a member of the team.

“I think the main reason Rafi worked so hard to rehabilitate was so that he could come back to play football,” Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “You have to be a really positive thinker to get through what Rafi did and that goal of playing again was a real motivator.”