Tuesday’s front-page story (“Quick response aids player who ruptured spleen”) detailed how a Greely High sideline doctor’s prompt intervention likely saved Leavitt footballer Adam Smith’s life.

One Friday night last football season, I drove to Lewiston and stood in the bleachers to watch Biddeford’s Tigers (and, of course, my wide receiver grandson) on the gridiron.

Kyle, my grandson, kept a drive alive with a reception early in the game. Later, in another clutch situation, he came across the middle and laid out reaching for another.

Thus vulnerable, he got hit hard by at least two Lewiston players. Coming off the field under his own power, he was soon flat on the ground in pain. A doctor from the Lewiston side arrived on a golf cart. The second time, he came packing a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. Hmmmm.

At halftime, Biddeford’s players gathered in the half-light behind the bleachers, where I stood mutely peering over the top rail. As they milled about, Kyle was prostrate. I spoke to Kate, Biddeford’s trainer. The Lewiston doctor’s diagnosis was a deep bruise. The cuff, she said, was to rule out a spleen injury: Good to go. Kate seemed skeptical, but outranked.

Kyle rode the school bus back to Biddeford and began vomiting on the way. After he was transferred to Maine Medical Center that night, a ruptured spleen was discovered. Apparently too severe a tear, or too late for repair, they “tied it off” and would let it atrophy. Several days of hospitalization, lots of pain meds and a big bill later, he still walks among us, now without a functioning spleen. They gave him inoculations against several diseases.

Without a spleen, one’s resistance to infection is compromised, they said. But he’s young.

But later in life? Well, to quote Lou Reed: “That’s just some other time.”

Best wishes, Mr. Smith. You were lucky to be at Greely that day.

Richard Rhames

Biddeford