AGAWAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The Agawam High School Football team has one captain this year and the road to his senior year took a frightening turn about a year ago.
From an early age, Agawam High School Senior Tommy Caracciolo has dreamed of being on the varsity football team.
"I've played football since third grade. I did flag football before that. All three of my older brothers played football for ten years," Caracciolo tells us.
Caracciolo was on track towards the football fame he dreamed of until last year.
A couple weeks after Thanksgiving, while competing in a wrestling tournament, he took a hard fall to the mat, not realizing until the next morning something was seriously wrong.
"I found out that more than half of my kidney was full of blood and it was swollen up and inflamed," explained Caracciolo.
But that wasn't the only information Caracciolo found out.
Doctors told him that he may never be able to play any sport ever again.
"It was heartbreaking. It's something scary when you love something so much and somebody just mentions it being taken away from you," stated Caracciolo.
However, with family and teammates in his corner, Caracciolo achieved what appeared to be impossible: clearance to play football this season.
"He's like our warrior chief. He just doesn't go down. If you're going to tackle Tommy, you better bring friends," says Agawam Football Head Coach John Benjamin.
Before his injury, Caracciolo would step onto the field like it was just another practice, but after facing adversity, he now takes the field with a completely different approach.
"Every practice, I smile and I'm the happiest person out there, because just in an instant, everything can be taken away," continued Caracciolo.
Caracciolo is the only captain of the team this year and Coach Benjamin tells Western Mass News that decision was a no brainer.
"He does lead in the classroom. He does lead in the weight room. He was the first one in the weight room all the time. He was there every day. He gets pretty good grades in school. I never hear anything bad about him from his teachers," stated Coach Benjamin.
Despite all the obstacles, Caracciolo wants people to know a big contribution to his come back career.
"I do want to thank my offensive line. They're a lot of big, sweaty dudes and I love them with all my heart, and without them, nothing could've happened," added Caracciolo.