The Spaulding High Football players saw a familiar sight when they returned to the practice field. It was a sight they didn't expect to see that soon. Last year's head coach David Ball was back after a brief stint with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.
Ball signed on with the Eagles at the start of training camp. He got the opportunity thanks to new Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly, who was Ball's Offensive Coordinator at UNH. Ball's first day went well.
"Day one was a hell of day," Ball said.
But on day two, Ball's pinky finger got caught in a shoulder pad during a routine drill. The Eagles training staff said it was just a sprain, so Ball played on. After four days of no improvement, Ball got a second opinion. The finger was broken, dislocated and had tendon and ligament tears. Surgery was required and a release from the team was inevitable.
"I was at a point of my career where if I was going to go to camp and have a spot on that team if I had to be 100 percent, Ball said. "I just had a 2nd in a lifetime opportunity, I didn't want to hold someone else back from a once in a lifetime opportunity."
After having surgery on the finger at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Ball returned to his teaching job at Spaulding. The new Spaulding High Coaching staff was more than happy to bring Ball in as an assistant.")))
"We're a better football team and a better coaching staff with him," Spaulding Head Coach Tyler Holcomb said. "He brings a lot of experience, has a great football background, great attitude and is great with the kids."
"Dave's a good role model, he's been there so he knows how it's like and it's cool to have someone from the upper level come down and help us out at the lower level and just be there," Spaulding Senior Fullback Kaleb Dindo said.
His hand may be banged up, but David Ball's vision is just fine. He can see that although an NFL career is no longer an option, that's no reason to throw in the flag.
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