When you're running on the field as a high school quarterback, your mind can be a going in a lot of directions. What coverage are they in, what play did coach call, who are my open receivers? The last thing on your mind is the potential of how drastically your life can change after one snap. For Linfield Christian (Calif.) High School quarterback Alex Ruiz, that's exactly what happened.
In October 2017, Alex Ruiz was playing football just as he did every Friday night during the fall. By the end of the night, the 17-year-old was battling through having a dislocated knee and severed artery in his right leg, which cut off blood flow to his leg for 11 hours.
Fast forward to February 2018, Ruiz made the decision to amputate the leg below the knee. Any injury is a tough mental and physical road for an athlete, especially in high school. But a leg amputation can be quick to crush any athletes dreams of playing the sport they love.
This wasn't the case for Ruiz, whose dreams of playing football again remain alive and well. These dreams were encouraged three months ago when New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees hand-delivered a prosthetic leg to Ruiz, who watched the future Pro Football Hall of Famer during the beginning of his career with the San Diego Chargers, has a shrine dedicated to him in his room at home, and wears a No. 9 jersey in his honor.
After a few months, with a smile on his face, Ruiz walked into Saints joint practice with the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, Aug. 23. It was his second meeting with Brees, who has committed to paying for his athletic training prosthetic once Ruiz learns to walk with the new one, but the two looked like old friends greeting each other at a family gathering.
Along with Brees, several other members of the Saints greeted Ruiz with a warm embrace, including running back Mark Ingram, head coach Sean Payton, and defensive rookie of the year, Marshon Lattimore, who promised Ruiz a signed jersey on twitter after their meeting.
Alex Ruiz, a football player who received a prosthetic leg courtesy of Drew Brees, visited the New Orleans Saints during their joint practice with the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday, August 23.