THIS JOURNE Y BEGINS LAST SUMMER. I attended both the Alabama and Auburn camps and participated in the USF Sling & Shoot 7-on- 7 Tourney with our team. As the season began I was
named a starter and was feeling very confident even though I
was just a sophomore.
Our team runs the spread, and with me as the No. 4 receiver, coach Carney felt that their No. 4 defender wouldn’t be
able to cover me, and he was right. After our first two games, I
had collected nine catches of more than 300 yards and 6 TDs.
Our second game was a two-day war with Southwest
Florida Christian. On Friday afternoon, we drove over in a
charter van to play at 4 p.m. Rain only allowed us to play a
half with the score 14-14. Because it was a conference game
for us (SSAC), we had to drive back over the following morning to finish the game. The second trip to finish this game
would change the direction of my season and my life.
Midway through the third quarter on a third and 12, losing
by 7, I caught a ball down the seam for a 22-yard gain. As
I stretched out to make the catch, I took a hard shot to my
ribs. I thought I initially had the wind knocked out of me. I
laid on the ground for about 20 seconds and then jogged off
‘Losing My Spleen
Couldn’t Stop Me’
SOPHOMORE REFUSES TO GIVE IN AFTER
SUFFERING LIFE-THREATENING INJURY
BY NICKOLAS DOUCETTE, BEREAN CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
didn’t seem to find anything wrong,
and I felt like I was fine.
Of course there was a little
pain, but I got back over to coach
Carney and re-entered the game,
not knowing I had three major
lacerations in my spleen and was
bleeding internally. I played the
whole fourth quarter, even catching the game-clinching touchdown.
After the game, our photographer took a picture of me for
the newspaper, and the other
coach came over to tell me how
impressed he was with my game.
I was feeling like the sky was the limit after finishing two
games so hot. Coach was right: with all the talent on our
team, they couldn’t cover all four of our receivers, and I was
getting the home-run balls thrown in my direction and I was
catching every one.
Then came the bus ride home: two-and-a-half hours left
on the road and I started feeling really bad, but I refused to
tell anybody. The pain was excruciating and I still cringe at
the feeling of the bus bouncing along the road. I went to the
bathroom on the bus and got the garbage can, as I felt like
throwing up the whole way. Thirty minutes from the school,
one of my teammates, Llamar Smith, looked at me and
insisted on telling my father, who coaches the defense, that I
didn’t look well.
When he and the trainer got to me, they said I was as
white as a sheet of paper, and my lips were blue. I was
starting to lose my vision and the trainer insisted that we pull
over and call 911. God was looking over me. As we pulled
over, we saw Palms West Hospital on the left and rushed
in. They gave me a CT scan of my abdomen and found two
liters of blood. I was scared, and they needed to get me to St.
Left: A picture of me catching a
touchdown pass with a ruptured
Top middle: A picture of me after
the game, before we realize my
spleen was ruptured.
Bottom: Here I am in the hospital
with coach Carney.
Top right: Senior linebacker Kenny
Hippler wearing my jersey during
a game while I was still in the
hospital. It meant the world to me!