ANDERSON TWP., Ohio (FOX19) - On a blazing hot day in the middle of summer, Anderson High School junior soccer player Ethan Hughes saw his life change forever.
He took a ball to the chest in practice and kept playing for another five or six minutes, but his coach knew something wasn’t right. The right call at the right time not only saved a life, it changed a young man forever.
“I was panicking because I couldn’t breathe or move or talk,” said Ethan Hughes.
“Keep your composure and try to think through the next step, and for us, we knew we needed to get someone here to take a look at [Ethan] because we knew what was happening wasn’t normal,” said Anderson head boys soccer coach Sam Miller.
Less than two months before his junior season on July 1, Ethan was rushed to the hospital after what appeared to be a freak accident. He had suffered a collapsed lung.
“We’ve cried a lot,” said Ethan’s mom, Susan. “It’s one of the worst things, to watch your son in pain and you can’t do anything about it.”
Ethan survived and was on the mend, but just a few weeks later, it happened again — a second collapsed lung while riding a bike.
“What the doctor’s told me is that at the exact moment he took a chest ball, he may have been exhaling, and it was the perfect time, and his lung collapsed,” said Susan. “That set off a whole chain of events.”
Two major surgeries for two collapsed lungs and 16 days in the hospital. Yet somehow, less than one month later, Ethan was back on the soccer field.
He may not be playing yet, but he’s walking and smiling and back with his teammates.
This isn’t a story of what could have been, this is a story of what will be. Ethan is hoping to begin physical therapy in the next week or so, and his plan is to return to the soccer field towards the end of this season.
“Each day you’re one step closer to your goal,” said Ethan. “Keep pushing and keep on fighting.”