OAKHURST, Calif. (WKRG/CNN) — A California high school sophomore is back on the football field after an injury kept him off for two years.
He hasn’t lost his love for the sport that cost him part of his leg.
When PJ Kuzmitski is on the field, he always brings his A-game and his A-plus smile.
“Always put a smile on your face. There’s always a bright side, you always gotta chase the bright side,” Kuzmitski said.
So much positivity for a 16-year-old who has been through so much the past two years. An injury at football practice in 2017 resulted in the amputation of part of his leg.
“If there’s any chance of me getting back into the sport, I’m going to try and do it,” Kuzmitski said.
That dedication brought him to where he is now — back on the field, even scoring a touchdown for the Badgers during his first game.
“I’m pretty sure a lot of those kids thought for a while, ‘We’re probably never going to play with PJ again.’ And for him to come back like this and play is just, it’s an inspiration,” Coach Chance Sigala said.
“It’s the thing I love most in life, it’s the thing I get most enjoyment out of,” Kuzmitski said. “It’s what really drives my life in general, and I couldn’t stand being able to really sit out and just be able to watch that.”
For PJ’s mom Susie Kessler, she says “you don’t sign these waivers expecting for your child to lose a limb.” The return to football comes with mixed emotions and nerves for her, but it’s all worth it to see her son follow his dreams.
“He is taking it so incredibly well. He doesn’t think of it as a handicap. He thinks of it as being normal,” Kessler said.
As PJ adjusts to a new norm, he’s looking forward to getting a new athletic prosthetic and continuing his promising wrestling career.
“Don’t ever stop doing what you love. That’s the only thing that’s going to get you through it,” Kuzmitski said.
PJ says he also wants to try playing baseball, and he’s hoping to continue playing sports in college.