After a promising sophomore campaign,
was expecting to play a big role on the Lake Weir (Ocala, Fla.)
football team the following season.
But a health scare nearly put an end to his football career and sent him permanently into a wheelchair.
Not long after the football season ended in November 2017, Green — who played linebacker/defensive end as a sophomore – was doing squats in his school's weight room. Green heard a pop in his knee and was unable to carry the lift. He fell over as a coach ran over to assist him.
After sitting down for a bit, Green felt better. The next day, Green went to the doctor where he suspected it was a torn meniscus. Green underwent an X-ray and MRI that showed no tendons or ligaments had been torn or broken.
However, the head doctor of the orthopedic institute did find something suspicious in the head of the fibula in his right leg. It was a black mass measuring four and a half inches long and one and a half inches thick. Green was referred to UF Health Shands Hospital in nearby Gainesville.
"I got scared after that," Green said. "I thought, ‘Oh my, I'm going to Shands.' "
The doctors at Shands preformed a number of tests but didn't know if the tumor was cancerous or benign.
"He was in very strong danger of No. 1, just not being able to play football again, which was the least of our concern at the time," Lake Weir head football coach Knox Robinson said. "But, No. 2, losing his leg. We didn't know if it was cancer; we didn't know what it was."
Green had a biopsy performed on Feb. 6, 2018. Still not knowing what Green was suffering from, the biopsy results were sent for further analysis to a university in New York. Doctors were stumped. During a meeting in Canada with doctors from Shands, doctors from all over the country examined ideas of what could be the diagnosis.
It was finally determined Green had fibrous dysplasia, a rare bone disorder in which scar-like tissue develops in place of normal bone. Cancer was ruled out. Green had bone graft surgery on Feb. 27 to remove the mass and put in cadaver bone. Doctors told Green he would make a full recovery. The teenager would be able to play football again.
"That was probably the happiest moment was getting relieved and getting to be able to play football again," Green said.
Green was confined to a wheelchair from February to June and went through physical therapy to get his leg strong again.
"He called me over the summer and said, ‘Hey coach, I'm going to go play football this year,' " Robinson said. "I didn't know if this was a 16-year-old that had went through a traumatic event. I didn't put a whole lot of stock into it."
Green worked hard and by August he was cleared to play football. He missed early season practices and his team's first game, but he was always nearby for his teammates.
"I was out there as much as I could and at practices, I was always on the sideline trying to coach up my friends and coach up my positions," Green said. "I wanted to be back on the team and be back with everyone again."
With Green on the sideline for his team's season-opening game, Lake Weir pulled out a victory. However, the team's special teams units had a rough game, missing five extra points.
Knowing Green hadn't been able to be in a weight room for one year and probably wasn't as physically tough as he would need to be on Friday nights playing high school football in Florida, Robinson had a proposition for his young player.
"I pulled him aside and said, ‘Look buddy, you can do anything you set your mind to. We need a guy to become a good snapper,'" Robinson said. "He embraced it."
Green just loved being out the field again and sharing camaraderie with his teammates.
"Knowing I was able to come back was a blessing," Green said. "The team missed me and loved me coming back. They were so supportive of me that on a field goal at one of our home games that a linebacker came in on a field goal and hit me after I snapped the ball. My offensive line is so protective of me and my leg and they don't want me to get hurt. They pushed and shoved, even though that's bad to say, to make sure I was protected."
The first couple of days Green was back at practice, he was zoned in on working on the proper fundamentals of long snapping. He spent two hours a day trying perfect his craft.
Green, who is 6-foot, 210 pounds, had dabbled a bit in the specialized position as a sophomore, but now he was being relied on for every important snap.
"I took my snaps very serious," Green said. "If I didn't snap it right, then my holder wasn't able to hold the ball right."
With Green under center for the special teams unit, the kicking game flourished. In the final 11 games of the season, Lake Weir was 5-for-5 on field goals and 53-for-55 on extra points. The team's punter was named all-state.
To top off the great season, Lake Weir advanced to the playoffs. In the team's opening-round game against J.W. Mitchell (Trinity, Fla.), Green helped convert an important field goal that secured a 30-21 win. It was a monumental victory for the school's program.
"I was crying, especially that was the first playoff game we had been to in about 10 years and then winning a playoff game for the first time in the school's 63-year history was amazing," Green said.
Watching Green go through the battle of his life was an inspiration to coach Robinson and all his players and something they used as motivation all season.
"I've always liked the quote that says, ‘Football doesn't build character, football reveals character,' " Robinson said. "For Alec, I think that holds true because football or no football, he's one of the highest character kids and person I've ever been around."
Green, now 17, is hoping to play football at the next level. Robinson, who was a long snapper in college, calls Green the best long snapper he's ever played with or coached. With a solid 3.6 grade point average, Green should be able to pick a great college to attend.
After seeing firsthand how doctors treated him at Shands, Green now wants to pursue a profession in the medical field, either as a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon or doctor.
"I just love the way my doctor treated me and everything," Green said. "I'm that kind of person that helps people and gets them right and back on their feet."
Outside of school, Green loves being a valuable part of the Ocala community. He took part in the Ocala Police Department Explorer Program. It's reserved for community members that want to pursue a degree in the law enforcement field. Green helped direct traffic with officers and was a community liaison who helped those in need, especially during the holidays. He would make cookies and deliver them to the less fortunate.
Also, through the Ocala Police Department, Green attended the Police and Children Connecting (PACC) Program every summer from ages 6 to 12. When he was too old to attend, he was asked to be a mentor. So, for the last six summers, he has volunteered to help elementary-aged kids who are going into middle school with the transition. The camp also discusses safety issues and other topics.
Just through his involvement with the PACC Summer Camp, Green has logged 356 hours of volunteer time.
"I like to help out in the community and I like to see them positive and I'm always there for people," Green said. "I'm a people person and I just love people a lot."
Robinson notes Green has an infectious personally who brightens the day of everyone he comes in contact with. Even when things weren't bright for Green when he was fighting the battle of his life, he always remained positive. It's a personality trait that has helped Green be a strong young man.
"Not many people could go through what he did and be standing on the other side of it," Robinson said. "A lot people probably would have given up and succumb to negativity. He's a fighter, and he's an incredible person. I think he's a living testament that no matter what you're going through in life, never let go of that rope."
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