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Hawaii’s McKenzie Milton reflects on his return to football over the weekend

After being sidelined for over 1,000 days, Mililani’s McKenzie Milton return to the football...
After being sidelined for over 1,000 days, Mililani’s McKenzie Milton return to the football field Sunday night for the Florida State Seminoles.(Florida State Seminoles)
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 3:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After being sidelined for over 1,000 days, Mililani’s McKenzie Milton return to the football field Sunday night for the Florida State Seminoles.

“I was just grateful.” Milton told Hawaii News Now’s Steve Uyehara. “I was having fun out there, I was having fun like it was 3 years ago again. I was just embracing that moment, having fun in that moment.”

The former Trojan rightfully embracing the moment on Sunday, having spent the last three years recovering from a devastating knee injury that he suffered back in 2018 while at the University of Central Florida.

“You can’t go around tough things, you’ve got to go through them.” Milton said. “You’ve got to take them head on and attack them.”

With that mentality, McKenzie went through multiple surgeries and attacked countless hours of rehab to return to the gridiron — something no one with the same injury has been able to accomplish.

Fast forward three years later, with a move up state from UCF to FSU and Milton did just that.

Coming into the game late in the fourth quarter of the Noles’ season opener against No. 9 Notre Dame, leading the offense to two scoring drives and nearly completing the comeback in overtime.

Although FSU didn’t pull off the upset, the entire country got to witness Milton’s return to football on national television, but like a true competitor Milton was more focused on his team and getting his job done.

“I felt like I went in there and executed the plays that were called.” Milton said. “Obviously I wish we could have pulled it out in overtime or in regulation, but the ball rolls this way or that way sometimes and Notre Dame got the victory, but I did okay, I guess.”

Milton’s story is one of resiliency, a story that Milton says would not have been possible without the support of the islands.

“I love you guys so much.” Milton said. “Thank you guys for your thoughts, prayers, I’m going to put on for you guys, I’m going to put on for Hawaii just like I always do so I love you guys.”

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