At first, he thought very little of the injury.
His first consultation with medical professionals confirmed that, too.
No need to worry.
Only, it was more severe than the initial diagnosis.
And things would get worse before they would get any better.
David Aarhus missed the first seven football games of the season, recovering from a broken foot that gave him more fits than first anticipated.
One of the top linebackers in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League as a junior, Aarhus was hoping for a huge senior season with the Camas Papermakers. He never figured his bad foot would take him away from the game for as long as it did.
Still, as the country celebrates Thanksgiving, Aarhus has a lot to be grateful for this week. Camas is still playing football. And he is back in the starting lineup.
“It really helped me appreciate Camas football,” Aarhus said of his long absence. “When you play for Camas, and you stop playing, it’s a bummer. When you come back and play at Doc Harris Stadium and for Coach (Jon) Eagle, and with the guys, it’s a great feeling.”
Aarhus returned on Senior Night, getting introduced with his parents, preparing for his first game action of the season.
“I teared up. I wasn’t crying because I was sad,” Aarhus said. “I was crying because I was super happy to be out there with this team, contributing to what already is a great season.”
He came off the bench that night, then returned to the starting lineup the next week.
“When he got back, you could just feel a lift,” Eagle said. “His presence on the field, his leadership. You could feel the defense elevate.”
Aarhus hurt his right foot last spring.
“This whole thing has been quite an experience,” he said before retelling the story.
At first, he figured it was just sore. Put some ice on it. Suck it up. Get back to training.
But the pain lingered.
A doctor took X-rays but did not notice a crack. Instead, Aarhus was told to rest. He sat out team camp in June.
The pain, though, continued.
A second opinion revealed he had a Jones fracture.
Still, there was hope he would be good to go before Week 1. He spent a few weeks in a walking boot. Then he was told he could resume athletic training.
“I made a cut, and boom, instantly, I had fractured it,” Aarhus recalled.
Later, he was told he probably should have eased into training. But Aarhus said he doesn’t blame anyone.
“I was just so eager to get out there,” he said.
That final bit of pain, though, led to surgery.
“At that point, lots of things went through my mind,” Aarhus said.
His doctor told him he could possibly be back in five weeks or he might not make it back for any of the season. That is just the nature of this kind of injury. Its rehabilitation is unpredictable.
“I just had to do whatever it took to get back,” Aarhus said.
It was not just him, though. It was all the people who supported him. Doctors, physical therapists, and more.
“Adversity shows you a lot about yourself and the people around you,” Aarhus said. “When I was going through this, teammates, coaches, even people I don’t know, they were very encouraging. That really touched me. Made me want to come back even more, that Camas support.”
The team is now 12-0, with four of those wins with Aarhus in the starting lineup.
Camas will take on Sumner in Week 13 — the 4A state semifinals — at 1 p.m. Saturday at McKenzie Stadium.
Aarhus, who did not make the all-league team this season due to his injury, is thinking of a bigger prize.
“That’s not what this is all about,” he said of individual honors. “What really matters is who wins state, who’s No. 1 at the end of the year. That state title is going to last a super long time.”
Missing the first seven weeks was, as he said, a bummer.
Aarhus, though, is making sure he hasn’t missed anything since then.
“You have to make the most of every play, every series, every single film session, every practice,” Aarhus said. “I realized I had to make the most of the rest of this season.”