Mitchell Boals seems to find his way to our highlight reels almost every Friday night, making big plays for the D.C. Everest football team.
His head coach calls our Athlete of the Week versatile and explosive. But almost a year ago, Boals got hurt and almost lost his life.
"Football, as important as it is, it's not the most important thing in the world," Boals said.
Boals knows that very well now. A year ago, the Everest wide receiver almost died playing football.
"I was right on top of his hip as he was going out for a route. We both went up for the ball somehow."
Boals was describing a play in the final quarter of a playoff game against Bay Port. Everest was clinging to a lead.
"I got under him and he had a remarkable catch and he landed right on me. I was coughing up blood after the extra point and I said, ok this isn't right."
The Evergreens lost the game. But the result was the least of the team's worries. A trip to the hospital revealed that Boals was bleeding internally and needed emergency surgery.
"I turned to the surgeon and one of the nurses in there, I just realized, it hit me," Boals said. "I'm scared. She said, you have a perfectly good right to be."
A quart of blood. That's how much doctors took from his abdomen.
"If I would've came to him 20 min later, my blood would have clotted. I would have died. I would have gone into cardiac arrest."
Boals missed a month of school and lost 22 pounds after surgery. But what he gained was much more valuable.
"A lot of people went out of their way to help me out especially with my recovery and trying to keep up with school," he said.
"It's unbelievable when you have that many people on your side trying to get you back to the way you were."
Boals started training from scratch, determined to get back on the field. Now he's one of the top receivers in the conference.
"If there's one place I want to be in life. It's on that football field and for me to get out there and get to do what I love again, it was indescribable."
Football isn't the most important thing in the world to Boals. But it's his journey back to the game that's helped him heal.
Mitchell Boals, your Newsline 9 Athlete of the Week.