The playing field is where Noah feels most at home.
“My mom and dad are always playing outside in the driveway.” Noah Horn, a senior at Stamford, said.
“Ball was totally his first word. He didn’t say Ma or Dad.” Rebecca Horn, Noah’s mother, said.
“It’s always been a part of my life.” Noah said.
The sound of a swish, the squeak of the shoes, the tact of the bright, orange ball. Basketball stole his heart first.
“Even as a freshmen, he had that presence in the locker room and on the court.” Dean Edwards, his basketball coach, said.
“It’s an amazing feeling that I don’t feel anywhere else.”
“Starting off the season he was the number one guy.”
Noah’s a warrior. There’s no more agony than not being able to be on the field.
Let’s take a step back, to Sept. 15, 2017. Stamford is taking on Merkel. The Bulldogs are at the start of a bounce back season, but a season that would end short for Noah.
The senior quarterback was lined up at wide receiver.
“I remember everything that happened.” Noah said.
His parents watched the scene unfold from the stands. For Noah’s father, Wes, it was the first game of the season he was able to watch of his son’s.
“All of a sudden, I was just honed in on what was happening.” Rebecca said.
“The guy with the ball ran past.” Noah said.
Coach Edwards was helping call offensive plays for the football team. He was within 20 yards of Noah as the play progressed.
“And I look and somebodies not getting up.” Coach Edwards said.
“Stuck my foot out, and the mike linebacker came rolling into my leg. My foot got trapped underneath him and he just went straight through it. It sounded like a tree branch breaking.” Noah said.
“It was awful. I don’t ever want to see that look on a kids face again.” Coach Edwards said.
Paramedics and trainers rushed to Horn.
“In the ambulance, my dad just kept reminding me that god is with us and I’m going to be okay.” Horn said.
“And, I really had the strangest calm come over me the minute it happened.” Rebecca said.
He was rushed to the emergency room.
The X-Rays showed a gruesome story.
“Every time they lifted it up, I could feel the bones scraping against each other.” Noah said.
“I said, when do you think he can be back? Dr. Maroney’s first statement was probably February. Well, he said this is a bad break and of course, then we saw the X-Ray and saw just how bad it was.” Wes said.
A fracture in both his tibia fibula. The pain was enormous, but that paled in comparison to losing the ability to compete.
“And that was really frightening to think because, here’s a guy that his whole life has run and has been physical. And suddenly he can’t.” Wes said.
“Not being able to do anything on my own. Having to have help getting from places inside my own house. That was the hardest part.” Noah said.
But, like warriors do, Noah fought back.
“I had to get determination in my head that this was something I had to do.” Noah said.
“He kept telling me, I’ll be back. And I’m thinking to myself, there’s no way. He can barely walk. But there was never one doubt in his mind.”
Slowly. His goal became a reality. That goal was to be ready for the district basketball opener against Haskell, on Dec. 19, 2017. The day before the game, Noah was finally cleared to perform. It had been just 3 months and four days since Noah’s injury, and he was ready to go.
“[Coach Edwards] called my name. And then I ran past him and he called me and he gave me a big hug and told me, just calm down and just play basketball.” Noah said.
“He was a factor, both inspirationally and just his presence on the floor.” Coach Edwards said.
“That was definitely the moment I was waiting to feel throughout the entire recovery process. I just wanted to be back on the floor and play again.” Noah said.
He scored 10 points in his first game back in a winning effort over Haskell.
Once the ball was back in his hands, it was like it never left.
“I’m real glad to have him back.” Coach Edwards said.
“I realized sitting there watching him. He looked like himself.” Wes said.
“I’m starting to feel like myself again. I’m starting to play normal and under control. And, just falling back in love with the game.” Noah said.
A scar is all that remains from his battle.
“I like my scar.” Noah laughed.
It’s a daily reminder to him of his past, but an inspiration to his future.