ROCKLIN -- It's a foregone conclusion that football players play with pain -- but last September, Whitney High school's Noah Lease-Kennedy took a hit to his mid-section he couldn't shake it off.
“I went to the bench and I was trying to regain my breath so I could go back in,” he said. “And then I realized that this wasn't normal.”
The on-site paramedics felt it wasn't normal either, and took him by ambulance to the hospital where doctors discovered Noah was losing a lot of blood internally.
“We had x-rays and then they said I had a lacerated spleen,” Noah told FOX40.
He lost a liter-and-a-half of blood. The body only has about five liters in total.
For three days, it was touch-and-go for Noah.
“It was definitely one of the scariest moments I've ever lived through,” Noah’s mother, Renee Lease, told FOX40.
Noah spent nearly two weeks in the hospital. Every day, his teammates found a way to visit him and lift his spirits.
“It's just like good to know people are there for you and stuff so I think it definitely helped him out a lot,” teammate Hunter Leonard said.
Noah's recovery was long. He missed almost a month of school and wasn't cleared for full-contact sports until this past May.
When it came time to decide whether to play football again, that was a no-brainer.
“I knew it was going to happen, so I was already prepared for it,” Lease said. “You know, I didn't want him to play but it's what he wants to do and he needs to grow and discover who he is.”