On July 17, 2015 fourteen year old Danny Smuts was playing in a semi-final game of the Dave Shelton Soccer Tournament. As Danny ran to intercept the ball, he collapsed to the ground in pain.
Danny was immediately transported to Rady Children’s Hospital where we would stay for 42 days before being discharged with a crushing prognosis – Danny will be paralyzed for the long term, if not for the rest of his life. But Danny isn’t alone.
Danny’s soccer club, Escondido FC Heat has been a huge support system for him and his family. The club started a Go Fund Me campaign for Danny which raised over $18,000 to assist with medical costs, a custom fit wheelchair and construction for the Smuts home to be wheelchair accessible. The club also dedicated the final game of the Tournament (postponed after the incident) to Danny.
Being a teenager is a difficult stage in life — being a teenager and experiencing such a traumatic injury, could be crushing. Not for Danny. Through it all, he continually stayed optimistic, never letting it bring him down.
Inspiring doesn’t even come close to describing Danny. That is exactly why Reagan Yorke, a former FC Heat player and a young film maker was moved to make a documentary short film of the Smuts Family.
Check out Reagan’s documentary Life Rolls On, produced by Reel Voices:
A year later Danny is continuing to thrive. He continues to stay in touch with Rady Children’s Hospital by assisting with fundraising and is also on call for any children that are admitted with a similar situation.
“I believe he can not only provide support to others going through the same problems, but positively influence viewers worldwide with his strong sense of perseverance,” added Yorke.
Life Rolls On reminds us all to count our blessings, enjoy life to fullest, and that no matter what struggles come our way, we can persevere.