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Kissimmee's James Panui is back

May 20, 2005 - National Indoor Football League (NIFL) - Kissimmee Kreatures News Release

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – He’s back. Look out Miami!

James Panui was resting Friday, playing video games with teammate David Aubrey. “I’m ready to go this week,” said Panui, who kicked the game winning 38-yard field goal against the Miami Morays back on April 16 in Kissimmee’s Silver Spurs Arena.

In a return engagement against Miami, the Kissimmee Kreatures will take on the Morays, but this time in a National Indoor Football League game in Miami Arena on Saturday night. On Monday, the Kreatures are at the Daytona Beach Hawgs.

Let’s go to the replay: James Panui was in a star mode just five weeks ago. He had risen to new heights in professional football; something he had not attained in college.

Primarily, because he was rejected in walk-on attempts at Central Florida, but all of a sudden, this 5-foot-9inch dynamo electrified the NIFL with his versatility, skills and charisma.

Following a bye-week, and after the Miami game (51-48), the Kreatures traveled more than 7,000 miles (round-trip) to Casper, Wyoming, for a game against the Wyoming Cavalry.

Panui, on the second offensive play for the Kreatures, went a passing route when he ended up slamming into the curved boards in one end zone. “The pads were a lot thinner than in most arenas and when I hit it, something cut my left leg,” he explained of the mishap.

The sharp object, which was never discovered or discussed by the Wyoming franchise, at least to the Kissimmee team, cut Panui’s left knee cap so badly, it required three layers of 5-stiches. “That’s a lot (15 stitches total) and I could see everything…the tendons, the knee cap…everything.”

The 22-year-old was then sidelined for games against Lakeland and Fayetteville. “I couldn’t bend the knee until this week,” he said because of fear the stitches would break.

What the team missed was Panui’s consistency. He had moved into the NIFL’s top 10 in receptions and receiving yards, but the two game and three week layoff saw people pass him.

However, this week, and throughout the injury, the former son of a career U.S. Army soldier Daniel Panui, he was still 7th in kickoff returns at 20.8 yards a return and was 8th in all purpose yards, averaging 111.7.

He comes back into action, second only to TJ Simmons on the team, with 29 catches, 400 yards (13.8 a reception) and six touchdowns.

“TJ really stepped up and had some fine games,” said Panui of his teammate.

Panui has been relatively injury free going back to his high school days when he had fractured ankle and an injured finger.

Asked if he was ready to kick in case he’s called upon to do that job, he said, “I’m always ready to do what it takes for the team to be successful,” he added. “Right now our regular kicker is back, so I’ll only do it if it’s an emergency.”

If it’s a crisis situation, you can count on the Hawaiian-born Panui. And he’s now maika’i…which means in Hawaiian, good, fine and well.

For additional information about The Kissimmee Kreatures, the NIFL, or season ticket and corporate sponsorship information, please visit our website at or call 863-687-8110. Additional information about the team can be found at the league website,, or 888-422-9682.

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