ROCKLIN (CBS13) — A high school football player nearly lost his life after an unexpected injury during a game.
The Junior Varsity team coaches at Whitney High School say they’ve never seen anything like it before.
“And nobody really knew until we started walking him out of here and he couldn’t make it,” said head coach Mike Holm.
Noah Lease-Kennedy took the field like any other Friday, ready to get tackled between the yard lines. But no one expected him to end up fighting for his life just hours after the game.
“That’s probably the worst injury I’ve had and this is my 28th year coaching football,” Holm said.
Noah was playing defense during a kickoff when he was hit from behind. He slammed into another player’s knee and dropped to the ground.
“At first, I thought, ‘he just got the wind knocked out of him,’” said Hunter Leonar, Noah’s teammate.
Noah’s mom, Renee Lease, rushed to the game.
“I kind of put my forehead on his and he was crying, and he said ‘Mom, I’m hurt bad, I’m scared,’” she recounted.
Her 15-year-old son couldn’t stand and could barely breathe.
“Maybe it’s more than a bruised rib, maybe you actually broke your rib?”
But a CAT scan showed Noah’s spleen had ruptured and he was bleeding internally. Doctors had to perform emergency surgery to save Noah’s life.
“What if you could have tolerated it a little more,” she recalls saying to her son. “I got you home, you went to sleep, you wouldn’t have woken up? I would have lost my son.”
“I pictured the mortality of my own son for the first time in my life,” said Schuyler Kennedy, Noah’s father.
Leonar told CBS13 he plans to wear Noah’s jersey at the next game.
“I don’t think he’ll be stepping on the field for a while,” he said.
And while doctors say Noah won’t play sports for at least six months, Lease says she can’t stop her son from getting back in the game when the time comes.
“It’s his love, it’s his dream, it’s his passion,” she said. “It’s what he wants to do so I have to back that. It’s not my dream, it’s his.”
The football team says they’re raising money for anything Noah’s family needs right now. Noah may be released from the hospital Friday and already plans to watch next week’s game in person.