FRESNO, California - A young football player's life changed forever after an accident during practice, and now, the community is coming together to help him cope during this difficult time.
"We're playing for PJ, and that gives me a boost to hit everyone a little bit harder," teammate Nicholas Guynn said.
The Yosemite High School football locker room in Fresno, California, is now missing one player.
Last Wednesday, PJ Kuzmitzki was on the practice field when he was tackled and horribly injured.
Coaches called 911 immediately, and family friends say doctors did what they could. But on Tuesday, doctors had to amputate the lower half of Kusmitski's right leg.
"I'm not at a good place," coach JD Burnett said. "It's tough. You can't help but feel sad and emotional for the situation. It's something we're dealing with."
The 14-year-old is just a few weeks into his freshman year and now has so much to relearn.
"He's such an energetic kid, and it's such a bad situation," friend Justin Micallef said.
Now, the community wants to help. Anita Johnson, with the team's booster club, says they have started an online fundraising campaign. They have also opened an account where people can physically donate money to help the player when he returns home.
"He's going to need assistance getting around campus, maybe with a high tech scooter, that he can traverse our campus with the highs and lows," she said. "At his home, he's going to need ramps built that are ADA specific."
His teammates are continuing to visit PJ at the hospital, saying his passion continues to be football.
"I'm hoping he can come back and play with us soon," teammate Devon Hawk said.
As the team gears up for their next game, the number 23 is one they are keeping close, sending him a message they hope he hears.
"Keep up the fight, never forget he's one of our brothers," Guynn said.
PJ and his family appreciate all of the continued prayers and support, you can make donations through his YouCaring fundraiser account.