STANFORD, Ky. (WKYT) - It's been more than a year since a hayride accident nearly took the leg of a Lincoln County boy.
But Friday night, after a long road to recovery, he was able to return to the sport he loves.
While the matchup between the Crab Orchard Cubs and the Stanford Wildcats wasn't for a trophy, it was a monumental night for Jalen Smith, who plays for Stanford.
To tell Jalen's story, we have to go back to September 2012, when the then 8 year old was on a hayride at a church picnic. Somehow, the trailer carrying Jalen and others got pinned up against a fence post, with Jalen's leg trapped.
"He was in a wheelchair for a while and completely immobile," Jalen's mother, Jacqueline Smith, said.
The outlook wasn't great. The boy who loves sports wasn't given any guarantees. He had to undergo multiple surgeries, muscle transplants, and skin grafts.
"There were a few times when he wasn't able to walk at all, and he wasn't able to get out of the bed. I feared he was giving up," Jacqueline Smith said.
By April, Jalen was showing great signs of progress by walking and even shooting basketball, and dreaming of the night he could return to the game.
"He was walking real fast coming in here. I said, 'Why are you walking so fast?' He said, 'I'm too excited!,'" Jaxon Smith, Jalen's older brother, said. "It's great to see him back out there on the court."
Jalen tallied up six points as his Wildcats won 39-16. A victory on the court, on top of a victory just to be on the court.
After the game, Jalen was of few words, but he said his leg felt good, and that it felt good to get back on the floor.