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Why 16 seconds on the field meant everything to this Sycamore High athlete

Posted at 12:00 AM, May 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-10 07:45:47-04

CINCINNATI -- Six months of recovery from a life-threatening brain aneurysm netted Sycamore High School senior David Moskowitz just 16 seconds on the lacrosse field Wednesday night.

It was more time than he thought he might ever have again.

"Me getting on the field one last time means the world to me," he said. "The feeling is unreal."

The aneurysm started Dec. 17 as a tingling sensation on the right side of Moskowitz's mouth. Although an urgent care doctor told him he was likely dealing with a virus, an MRI revealed the truth: He had Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, a rare genetic condition that manifested as tangled blood vessels and lesions in his brain. 

Some of the malformations caused by Osler-Weber-Rendu are operable. Moskowitz's weren't. As he lost part of his vision and found it more difficult to control the right side of his body, doctors prescribed him medication to help with swelling blood vessels and moved him into an intensive treatment ward at Children's hospital.

When he returned to school, he did so in a wheelchair. His probability of returning to the lacrosse field seemed small.

But there was a chance.

"I was just trying to keep my hopes up that I could play lacrosse again and everything would go back to normal," he said.

In the meantime, he attended every game and every practice to support his teammates, and they continued to count him as a member. Coach Greg Cole, who described Moskowitz as "funny, fun, high-energy and positive," wanted to do something special to celebrate his resilience and team spirit for Senior Night. 

"He's the type of guy that you want to root for," Cole said.

He arranged for Moskowitz to take the field one last time against Turpin High School. He'd be out for 16 ceremonial seconds to match the number 16 on the back of his jersey.

When he appeared Wednesday night, the crowd and his teammates erupted into cheers. 

"I love the team," he said. "I love the sport. It was one of the hardest things to accept, not being able to play again, so going out there … gives me a little bit of happiness, knowing I'm there and still involved with the program."

Moskowitz will graduate from Sycamore High School May 19. He plans to study nursing at the University of Cincinnati.