A freshman football player is welcomed home after having his leg amputated because of a horrific injury. 14-year-old PJ Kuzmitski made his return to Yosemite High on homecoming night after about a month of recovery. But his journey is just beginning.
PJ Kuzmitski defines positivity. Despite losing the lower part of his right leg, he’s already planning his comeback and inspiring his community.
Resilience means bouncing back after getting knocked down. For Yosemite freshman PJ Kuzmitski, a devastating leg injury during football practice knocked him down and changed his life.
“It was fairly obvious like immediately that it was a dislocation. Just nobody thought it was a dislocation this bad,” said Kuzmitski.
PJ underwent surgery at CRMC to repair the damage done but later that week, doctors said the 14-year-old’s lower right leg would need to be amputated.
“You don’t picture this when he’s born and I remember the day he was born very vividly. But he’s strong,” said PJ’s dad Jacob Kuzmitski.
Badger strong and PJ tough. A phrase seen throughout the Oakhurst community. After a month of recovery and daily treatment, PJ took his first steps on Yosemite’s football field. The Yosemite Badgers name PJ the honorary captain to kick off the Varsity homecoming game. On the sideline with the “Y” on his leg, PJ is starting to feel like himself again.
50 yards away, the booster club is raising money in his name to help fund PJ’s medical needs on his road to recovery.
“People just seem to love him like he’s their own son and that makes me very, very proud,” said Jacob.
PJ says he’s not giving up on his love for sports. He plans to wrestle next year and hopes to play football again in 2019. It’s not a matter of if but when.
“I’m going to get through it. I know I’m going to get through it. It’s just a waiting game right now,” said PJ.
PJ will have knee reconstruction surgery at the end of next month and plans to get a prosthetic leg by next year. Raiders Quarterback Derek Carr sent PJ a personal video message, saying he’s praying for him and hopes to see him soon.