MOUNT HOREB (WKOW) -- "Make every play count" is a commonly used phrase in sports, but it's one Mt. Horeb/Barneveld football senior Jake Welsh has really taken to heart. Much of the Welsh's life revolves around football and he nearly had the game taken from him one season too soon.
During an offseason workout in February 2013, Welsh started feeling pain in his chest and down his back, which was accompanied by a shortness of breath. At first Welsh thought he may be experiencing an asthma attack, but the pain never subsided. He was taken to a UW hospital, where he was told he suffered a collapsed lung.
When spring came around, Welsh started feeling better physically. He didn't play baseball for the first time in years due to his collapsed lung, but wanted to participate in track and field so he could stay in shape for football. In early April, while throwing a discus, Welsh experienced more pain. His lung had collapsed again for the second time in a period of two months. Although this episode was not nearly as severe as the first, there were serious concerns about Welsh's athletic future.
Welsh's parents and his head football coach Travis Rohrer had their doubts on whether he would be able to play football again, but Welsh was adamant that he didn't want to miss his senior season.
Welsh took the next several months off from physical activity to be sure his lung healed completely this time. He missed much of the Vikings offseason training, but when the season began, Welsh felt he was ready. There were concerns at the start of the season, after Welsh would return to the sideline gasping for air, but each day he got stronger.
Welsh is a team captain and a two-way starter for the Vikings. He was named second-team all-conference and as the team says, he's a big reason why the Vikings are still alive in Level-Two of the WIAA Division-III postseason. To see more on Welsh's story, click on the video link.