MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The high school football season kicked off last week, and a southern Minnesota player may have been more excited than the rest to get back on the gridiron.

Junior Brady Kyllo plays center and defensive line for the Hayfield Vikings.

Due to a life-threatening illness, it has been nearly two years since he’s stepped on the field.

“I missed football last season. Obviously, I was bummed out. It’s my favorite sport. I’ve been playing with these guys since fourth grade,” Kyllo said.

September football practices in the rain are like natural team building.

But after what Kyllo has been through, it would be impossible for his team to be any closer.

“I was losing a lot of blood. I had a stomach ache because I had cramps all the time,” Kyllo said.

In the spring of 2017, Kyllo was feeling tired and losing a lot of weight. Tests revealed he had ulcerative colitis, a disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. For 90 percent of patients, it’s treatable, but Kyllo happened to be in the 10 percent where medicine doesn’t work.

“They ended up removing my entire colon last year so I lived with an ostomy bag the rest of the year,” Kyllo said.

Just like on game day, his teammates never left his side. His twin brother Carter was always there, and the team played last season with Kyllo’s number on their helmets.

“He’s going through a lot more than I’ve gone through my entire life. So yeah, he’s an inspiration to all of us and me,” said teammate and cousin Luke Dudycha.

A second surgery meant Kyllo no longer needed an ostomy bag. This summer, doctors cleared him to play under the Friday night lights once again.

“People know the story. People are not surprised about his ability to come back,” said Coach John Howe.

“It’s awesome being back. You just have to keep pushing through. Always do your best and if you really want it that bad, you’ll get it,” Kyllo said.

John Lauritsen