But now we know that too many concussions can actually change the brain. Lucas held his breath. The room was suddenly quiet.
Lucas could feel the eyes of those football players looking down on him. It would be torture.
But he'd be back in time for the first game. All night Lucas argued and begged. He had a million reasons why that doctor was wrong, and he told Mom and Dad practically every single one. When that didn't work, he offered to sit out for two more weeks - then three. Finally Dad put his hands on Lucas's shoulders. I know you love it. But it is just a game. Of course Lucas knew that. But that game was the most important thing in his life.
What would he do without his team? That night he lay awake in bed for hours, thinking. It was past midnight when he realized what he needed to do. He had to see Uncle Benny. Before Mom and Dad talked to Coach.
I Survived the Attacks of September 11, by Lauren Tarshis | Scholastic
Before it was too late. Dad left early the next morning. He was teaching a class at The Rock, the firefighter training school, across a bridge from Manhattan, on Randall's Island.
Mom dropped Lucas off at the bus stop on her way to work. The minute her car disappeared, Lucas sprinted back home. He grabbed his bike and pedaled as fast as he could to the trian station. He caught the with one minute to spare. Lucas knew how wrong this was - to skip school, to sneak into the city without Mom and Dad knowing. But right then, none of that mattered.
I Survived the Attacks of September 11th, 2001 (I Survived, Book 6)
Somehow, Uncle Benny would make this right. Tuesday, September 11, New York City, New York. Lucas had made this trip so many times with Dad he knew it by heart - the train to Penn Station, the subway to Canal Street.
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The World Trade Center was nine blocks south of the fire station. So he just followed his view of the towers until he hit the right street. As Lucas walked, he thought of the last time he and Dad visited the Trade Center. They'd gotten there early, before the observation deck was open. They had the place to themselves. The view from the th floor was like looking down on Manhattan from a cloud.
The whole island stretched out in front of them. The buildings below looked like toys, the rivers like trickling streams, the cars and trucks looked smaller than the models Lucas and Dad built in the basement. They stood there, just Dad and Lucas, alone on top of the world. That was right before the warehouse fire - only two years before now. It seemed like a very long time ago.
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When Lucas got to the firehouse, the garage door was open. And there, right next to the Seagrave, was Uncle Benny. But then Uncle Benny looked at Lucas again. He pulled Lucas into the garage. Lucas breathed in the familiar smell of diesal fuel and sweat. He'd always loved the sight of all the guys' black bunker coats hanging on the walls, the pants already tucked into the big black boots.
The firehouse was crowded. The guys from the last shift were saying their good-byes and the morning men were just getting settled. Guys came from all over the firehouse to say hi to Lucas, wrapping him in bear hugs, rubbing his head, and telling him he was growing like a weed. On Lucas's visits with Dad, his favorite job was helping Georgie cook his famous tomato sauce. Chief Douglas came over, his smile flashing from under his bushy gray mustache, followed by Mark, one of the younger guys. He and his family lived not far from Lucas. His eight-year-old twin boys were football fanatics, and Mark coached their team.
Last season they came to one of Lucas's games. Afterward, the twins had asked Lucas for his autograph. Suddenly Uncle Benny looked around. Lucas shook his head. Lucas shook his head again. Uncle Benny eyed Lucas, and his smile faded. Uncle Benny looked at Georgie, who gave him a nod. Uncle Benny led Lucas outside and they started walking. Neither of them said anything more, until finally Lucas came out with it. Lucas watched Uncle Benny's face, waiting for his eyebrows to mash together in anger, for his cheeks to burn furious red.
But Uncle Benny just nodded. Then he looked at Lucas. I don't want you ending up like poor Stan Walsh. He must have known he'd been Stan Walsh's doctor. Lucas had come all this way because he thought Uncle Benny would help him. And Uncle Benny was the reason he had to quit! Uncle Benny stopped and put his hands on Lucas's shoulders.
It seemed like he was trying to keep Lucas pinned to the ground, like otherwise he'd fly away. He stared at Lucas with those brigh-light eyes of his. What else do I have? Lucas wanted to ask. But before he could, something over Lucas's shoulder caught Uncle Benny's attention.
Out of nowhere, a huge jet airplane zoomed into view. It was flying very low. He and Lucas stood and watched as the plane tore through the sky, its engine screaming. Everyone else on the sidewalk stopped and looked up. Lucas had never seen an airplane flying so low, except taking off or landing. He could see the plane so clearly - the engines tucked under the wings, the sun glinting off the windows. He could even read the letters on the tail: AA. That plane had to be in trouble.
It was going to crash! Questions raced through Lucas's mind.
Had the plane's instruments broken? Was the pilot confused? Was he sick? Once Lucas heard about a pilot who had a heart attack in the middle of a flight. But that didn't make sense.
There would be a copilot there to take over. Or maybe airplanes flew like this all the time in New York City, and Lucas just hadn't noticed before? Or no, it had to be a movie.