USF Kicker Survives 35-Foot Busch Gardens Fall

When the USF football team gets together and discusses what they did during their summer vacation, Maikon Bonani will have a whopper of a story to tell - one that might even get the actual football players to speak with a kicker. That’s because, as the TAMPA TRIBUNE reports, Bonani survived a 35-foot fall from a ride at Busch Gardens yesterday, although he suffered several serious injuries including a cracked vertebrae in his back and remains hospitalized.

Skyride and Maikon Bonani

Bonani was working at the Skyride, an aerial tram ride that takes tourists on gondolas over the majority of the park. It’s not supposed to be a thrill ride, but is was for Bonani after he got caught on a gondola while trying to check if it was unlocked. He held on for about 50 feet before falling to the ground. If only he could have locked his legs around it - everyone knows that arms are useless on a kicker.

Actually, Bonani is apparently quite the athlete, as his high school coach says he could have started at quarterback or wide receiver, and he was also the county’s top soccer player and the school’s No. 1 tennis player.

In a sense, Bonani is lucky - not every college football kick has been fortunate enough to survive a long-distance fall. USC kicker Mario Danelo was killed in 2007 when he fell off of a clip just days after the Trojans won the Rose Bowl. Plus, he could have fallen into the wild animal reserve, with the whole thing turning into one of those ridiculous suicide scenes from “The Happening.”

As far as Tampa Bay kicker injuries go, this is certainly more impressive than blowing out your knee while jumping to celebrate a made field goal. For proof that Bonani knows how to do that correctly, check out his game-winning kick against Kansas last year at the end of this video: