PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Oct. 15th, 2021, Lake Oswego’s football team beat Oregon City, 48-15.

Safety, wide receiver and kicker Henry Smith, who was a junior at the time, played in that game with a sinus infection. But overall, he seemed fine.

“Sometimes we all forget. Like, ‘Wow, that really happened,’ recalled Smith. “If you look at me now, you probably couldn’t even tell that anything traumatic like that has happened at all.”

Forty-eight hours later, Smith woke up with one of his eyes swollen shut, and his mom Nancy just knew something wasn’t right.

In the middle of the night, she convinced the hospital to order an MRI.

What resulted, just a few hours later around 6 a.m., no one could have imagined.

“I actually bumped into the neurosurgeon in the elevator, and he said, ‘I’m so sorry, but this is an emergency. We need to go now.’ I said, ‘It’s that urgent to drain his sinuses?’ said Smith’s dad, Matt. “That’s when he told me, ‘No. His infection has moved to his brain. We have to do brain surgery. We’re starting in 15 minutes.’”

Smith immediately underwent emergency eight-hour brain surgery.

To make matters even worse for his parents, this was not their first time having a child in a life-or-death situation in a hospital. Twenty years ago, they lost their eight-year-old son, Kevin, to Leukemia.

“Watching your child be wheeled away for emergency brain surgery is pretty traumatizing, and because of our experience, we’ve already been through the worst, and the idea that something could happen to Henry too was pretty hard to take,” said Smith’s mom, Nancy, through tears.

Thankfully the surgery was successful, but understandably jarring.

“Waking up after that, seeing a scar from ear to ear on my forehead was definitely interesting, hard to wake up to,” said Smith. “I just didn’t really know if I’d ever figure things out and be the same, honestly. Football was not even in my mind at that time.”

Henry would spend 12 more days at the hospital and two more months at home on an IV, but slowly football crept back into his mind.

The road back was long though, as at 6-foot-1 he was down to weighing his middle school weight of 143 pounds. By the first game of the season, Smith was up to 185 and ready to go.

Then magic struck not once—but twice.

In his first game back from brain surgery, Smith scored his first varsity touchdowns of his high school career.

“It was just completely a blur. Just going out there, I caught the ball, I got in the endzone. As soon as I came on the sideline, I got super emotional,” said Henry of scoring against Barlow. “I never thought I was going to be in that situation. Even stepping on the field would’ve been a success to me, but scoring a touchdown, scoring two, was crazy.”

What he’s learned from this whole ordeal isn’t surprising.

“You never know when it’s going to be your last time stepping on the field. You never know when you’re going to get hurt, anything can happen any day,” said Smith. “You’ve just got to live every moment, live every day. You can never take anything for granted, for sure.”