Tyngsboro’s Kyle Butler, back on the field 16 months after a serious car accident.SUN/JULIA MALAKIESun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our
Tyngsboro's Kyle Butler, back on the field 16 months after a serious car accident. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

TYNGSBORO -- Over the past 16 months Kyle Butler has faced a test of courage, character and perseverance that has defined him as an athlete and person.

Butler has always been a natural when it comes to producing goals in bunches with a lacrosse stick in his hands. No matter what obstacles he encounters during a game, Butler never loses faith in his ability to perform. Yet there was a time not that long ago when Tyngsboro High's senior co-captain didn't know if he'd be able to rejoin his teammates on the playing field.

In January of 2013, Butler was driving himself home from a swim practice on a rainy day and was involved in an accident that left him with serious injuries to his skull, left shoulder and left ear.

He underwent surgery on his skull and was in the hospital for nearly a week. The injuries Butler sustained caused him to miss his entire junior lacrosse season.

Butler says he doesn't remember much about the accident. But he'll never forget the love and support he received from his family and friends while recovering.

"When I came to (after surgery) I remember asking, 'What does this mean for lacrosse?'" said Butler. "They said, 'Definitely not this year (2013) and we're not sure about next year.'"

A determined spirit and a positive attitude have helped Butler resume his playing career.


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After spending last year rooting his teammates on from the sideline, Butler has worked his way into the starting lineup.

He was given medical clearance to participate in a lacrosse league this past winter and performed well. Butler has taken his game to an even higher level this spring, notching 12 goals and 4 assists while helping the Tigers' get off to a 3-0 start.

"It feels so good to be back," said Butler, 17, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 125 pounds. "I was miserable watching the games and not being able to play last year.

"When this first happened they weren't sure I'd be able to play a physical sport. But I'm back to normal. I consider myself so lucky to be healthy and playing lacrosse again."

Butler's presence in the lineup has helped energize the Tigers' attack. An extremely savvy player, he seemingly knows where everyone is on the field at all times.

"I know it's only a small sample but to see him have this type of start, you have to feel so happy for him," said Tyngsboro coach Kyle Brady. "To some degree I'm surprised he's come back and made such a quick impact. But I knew he was a talented kid. Right now, he's clicking and feeding off the other players.

"If you watched him play, you'd never know the seriousness of the injuries he had to overcome. It's amazing. It's a great boon for the team. He's a great leader. He's a positive energy kid. He works his tail off at practice. The kids look up to him."

His teammates may look to him to provide a veteran presence on a club loaded with potential, but Butler draws his strength to succeed from good friend and fellow Tyngsboro High senior, Jack Trottier, a star football and lacrosse player.

On the day Butler returned home from the hospital, he found out that Trottier had been involved in a snowboard accident that has left him paralyzed from the chest down.

"We're really close," said Butler. "We hang together all the time. He's a true inspiration to anyone who knows him. He's the toughest kid I know. Myself, and a lot of my friends, wrote about him on our college essays. Honestly, he's just a great person."

Butler's older brother, Chris, is a former Tiger standout. And his twin brothers, Kevin and Matt, are getting some playing time on the varsity as freshmen.

His game is built around the ability to stay one step ahead of the defense while creating offense on the go.

"He has a real high IQ for the game," said Brady. "He has great (field) vision. He's accurate with his shot and he puts himself in spots where he can score. He's getting a second chance to play, and he is running with it."

You have to believe Butler will savor every step he takes on a lacrosse field this spring. An honor roll student with a 3.5 grade-point average, Butler has been accepted at UMass Amherst and Roger Williams, but hasn't finalized his college plans.

"There are no bad days for me on the field," said Butler. "The accident taught me that things can be taken from you at any time. That's why I am so thankful to be back playing lacrosse and getting ready to graduate. It's an exciting time for me."

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