At first, Christian Bangura thought it was just an allergic reaction.
Then, one day last fall, he woke up to find out it was something more. He had developed a blood clot that was spreading from his shoulder to his neck. The next stop was his brain.
“It was scary,” he said.
Bangura, who was attending Largo High School at the time, had surgery to correct the clot, removing his first rib along the way, and he missed the 2012 football season. Now fully recovered, the rising senior is looking forward to a fresh start at Fairmont Heights.
When Hornets coach Dwayne Dyke heard the news that Bangura was coming to Fairmont Heights, he couldn't have been more excited.
Dyke said the lack of a quarterback was the main reason the Capitol Heights school finished with just one win last season. Dyke had to play a fullback under center, so passing the ball wasn't a realistic option.
When Dyke heard Bangura, who is 6-foot-2, was transferring back to the school, he instantly started thinking playoffs. Dyke also said Bangura's return — the quarterback went to Fairmont Heights his freshman year — is getting more people interested in football.
“You know it's amazing because I think it's God's destiny,” Dyke said. “He knew a lot of the players, so when he came back it was like coming back home.”
Bangura has already established himself as a leader. Dyke said Bangura is typically the first player at practices and the last to leave, usually riding home with Dyke, which gives them more time to talk football.
“Christian is a leader. He's not a follower,” Dyke said. “That's the good thing about him. He's going to got to a [Division I] school, I know. I'm going to put him in one. He sees the field, he has a strong arm and can throw it short. The other thing is he can run. But he's coachable and he listens.”
Bangura has attended several camps this summer, most recently at Rutgers University, and Dyke said Bangura is the only one on the team to have attended three camps so far.
Bangura, who is healthy again, said the adjustment has been easy because he went to middle school with several of his teammates. He also believes that last year's scare made him more prepared for the upcoming season.
“It actually made me want to play harder,” Bangura said. “It made me stronger.”