Former UT soccer player Kylie Doniak is experiencing another bright spot in her long road to recovery.
Doniak, who was critically injured in a hit-and-run in February, has been named the 2011-12 Big 12 Female Sportsperson of the Year—the first female UT student-athlete to be given the honor.
On Feb. 3, the Longhorn forward was crossing the intersection of Eighth and San Jacinto when a driver—later identified as Nicholas Colunga—blew through a red light, striking her and two other pedestrians.
Doniak fought for her life for weeks in an ICU, where she fell into a coma and suffered brain swelling and temporary paralysis. Colunga has since been charged with four offenses, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and failure to stop and render aid.
Before the accident, Doniak was a four-year member of the UT women’s soccer team. She led the Longhorns in scoring with five goals and five assists last season, and is ranked 10th in school history in career goals. Doniak was also a three-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 team and participated in a wide array of service initiatives, including the Peace Corps Cambodian Kickball Project, Orange Santa, and the Neighborhood Longhorns Program Soccer Math Challenge.
The award, which recognizes extraordinary sportsmanship and community service, has previously been given to Longhorn football players Ahmard Hall and Sam Acho. This year’s male winner is Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Now home with her family in Chino Hills, Calif., Doniak continues to fight daily battles on the road to recovery. According to her CaringBridge site, where family members journal about her progress, Doniak still suffers from severe knee pain that inhibits walking and short-term memory loss that makes learning new tasks nearly impossible.
In a recent post, Doniak’s sister Alyssa writes: “Kylie keeps looking at the pictures and the booklet that was made for her and saying, ‘I can’t believe how many people I have impacted!’ We keep telling her, ‘Ky, you have no idea.'”
Photo courtesy UT Athletics.