George Kutrubis hit the turf of Bobcat Field and grabbed his head in his hands.
He had just gone up to head a ball — as had a South Windsor player — and the two players wound up knocking heads instead.
Kutrubis got the worst of it as the Bobcats player walked away.
For Kutrubis, the UConn-bound Norwalk High senior midfielder, he got treated by the trainer on the field before slowly making his way back to the sidelines.
Careers aren’t supposed to end this way — not for high profile, talented players like Kutrubis.
“I got out and I assumed I’d go right back in — and I was ready to go back in — but they said there was a protocol and I had to sit out for 20 minutes. She said, ‘You’re pretty much done for the game,’” Kutrubis said after his team had been dispatched from the state’s big school tournament, 4-1.
Hearing the news, Kutrubis slowly made his way to the end of the Norwalk bench.
“I came back to the bench and started crying,” he said. “I was thinking, this is awful. How can I end my senior year like this?”
That’s when Kutrubis did the math.
He was hurt with 21:50 left to play.
After 20 minutes of sitting, there would be 1:50 left to play — even if the game was decided.
With three minutes left, I Kutrubis walked over to the trainer, who put the Bears captain through a quick battery of tests.
With 90 seconds left to go, she gave him the OK and Kutrubis was reinserted into the line-up, joining fellow captains Tyler Dalton and Loizos Karaiskos on the field for the final buzzer.
Kutrubis’ first play upon entering the game was heading the ball to a teammate, proving he was OK and ready to play.
“I’m happy for all our captains, that those guys were able to finish out the season on the field,” said Norwalk head coach Chris Laughton. “I’m proud of those three guys and how far they’ve come. They’ve given us a lot and been good leaders for us. I was happy to see them finish it out there.”