Tres Harris may have been paralyzed or confronted a lifetime of rehabilitation.
He may have joined the record of soccer gamers that features the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ryan Shazier, the Buffalo Payments’ Kevin Everett and Rutgers’ Eric LeGrand, who suffered extreme spinal cord accidents in a recreation. On the time of their accidents, not one of the three may stroll.
However Harris, a senior at Frisco Legacy Christian, acquired off “fortunate” after breaking his neck in a recreation final season. The nephew of legendary Katy coach Gary Joseph — winner of 5 state championships — suffered no paralysis, by no means had to make use of a wheelchair and by no means wanted surgical procedure after fracturing his C6 vertebrae.
He even performed baseball within the spring. He simply wasn’t supposed to slip head-first, a health care provider’s directive that he ignored on just a few events.
Nonetheless, it was a life-changing injury. Docs advised him he would by no means play soccer once more.
Ready on a miracle
For a participant who was being recruited and dreamed of taking part in in faculty, it was devastating.
“That hit me like a sledgehammer,” Harris mentioned. “Apparently a bone didn’t heal proper, and it could be an excessive amount of of a danger for me to play. They mentioned there was no alternative for that bone to come back again into place. At that time, I believed I’m completed with soccer.
“It was a really emotional time for me. I had grown up taking part in the game my complete life. Up till I broke my neck, it was just about who I used to be. It was my identification. I needed to discover that identification some place else.”
It led to melancholy.
“He would say, ‘Individuals don’t discuss to me anymore. They don’t know what to say to me and don’t know methods to deal with me,’ He felt like he had misplaced his shut buddies,” his father, Dane, mentioned. “Nobody knew methods to work together with Tres the particular person, vs. Tres the soccer participant. He was depressed for a number of weeks.”
However after seeing a variety of specialists — together with a health care provider who helped Tiger Woods get again to taking part in — Tres obtained a miracle in June.
He had gone again for a routine checkup, simply to verify nothing had gotten worse.
“It was so surreal,” Tres mentioned. “I used to be sitting there, anticipating nothing had modified, simply hoping for one of the best. The physician got here in and mentioned, “I’ve by no means seen this occur earlier than. One way or the other, your bone has moved again into place.”
The physician added, “Not solely has this healed completely, however he’s additionally developed some new bone tissue across the space, and I’ve no rationalization for it.”
Tres later mentioned, “It was like a thousand kilos had been lifted off my chest.”
He instantly despatched a textual content message to Toby Trotter, now the soccer coach at Legacy Christian, a small non-public college.
“He mentioned, ‘I’ve been cleared to play. I’ll be there tomorrow.’” Trotter mentioned.
“It may have been so much worse”
Though his dad and mom had just a few “hold-your-breath” moments as they waited to see if Tres may deal with contact when he acquired again on the sphere, Tres had 11 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and two compelled fumbles in a 49-0 win over HSAA in his first recreation again Friday. The 6-3, 225-pound defensive finish/tight finish was able to play as a result of he had continued to coach nonstop and had added 30 kilos throughout his time away from the sport.
“I stayed within the weight room, saved operating, simply hoping for one of the best,” he mentioned.
Tres relied on his religion to maintain him going. And his father held weekly accountability classes along with his son — even taking away his cellphone and truck at one level — to assist Tres get his priorities straight when he thought his soccer profession was over.
“I had been praying about it each single night time, simply hoping for a method,” he mentioned of his dream of taking part in once more. “I acknowledged there have been issues to be glad about. You see guys as we speak who’re in a wheelchair due to an accident that occurred taking part in soccer. I’m extraordinarily lucky. It may have been so much worse.”
Tres discovered methods to research recreation movie from his well-known uncle, he discovered the sport itself by watching Katy play numerous playoff and state championship video games whereas rising up, and Trotter says Tres is a “soccer lifer” who would make a superb coach. Tres was having the “recreation of his life” after being inserted as a operating again towards Tyler Grace Neighborhood within the fifth recreation final season, having run for 122 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Then got here the play that he’ll keep in mind for the remainder of his life. He was pulled down with a defender on high of his head and his head slammed into the turf, with the crown of his helmet hitting first and nothing to brace his fall.
Tres thought he simply had a stinger, however the athletic coach and orthopedic physician who had been on-site instantly recognized the severity of the injury and Tres was positioned on a backboard and brought to a trauma-level emergency room. As he was wheeled off, Tres refused to provide a thumbs-up to the group, which had gone eerily silent.
“His response was, ‘Dad, I’ve already referred to as sufficient consideration to myself. They should end the sport and win.’ ” Dane mentioned.