The answer was “no.” He still needed doctor’s clearance.
Getting in the game
At around 2:30 p.m., he was in North’s gym with a class, working with a basketball and shooting. It didn’t look like much, but there was a purpose.
“I’m cleared to play and practice today,” Miller said with a smile. “I’m going to be able to dress tonight. I don’t think I’m going to get to play, but I’ll be dressed.”
The Hubs were playing at Clear Spring, a team they had beaten easily Jan. 10 — the day Miller got the good news about his heart.
“It’s really remarkable,” Brown said. “We have no way to predict how long it will take for patients to recover. Some take several months or longer. But this all speaks volumes about Aaron and the kind of kid he is.”
The Hubs took the floor for warmups before the game. The last man out, wearing his camouflage warmup shirt, was Miller.
When the game started, Miller took his usual spot at the far end of the bench away from Hartman and the Hubs’ usual rotation of players. As the game progressed, North continued to build a lead.
“The players kept saying, ‘Coach, put Aaron in,’” Hartman said.
In the back of his mind, the coach was thinking the same thing.
The Hubs held a significant lead with about one minute left in the third quarter. Hartman sent five players to the scorer’s table, including Miller. Miller took the floor to cheers from his bench and from the stands — from North and Clear Spring fans alike.
“Everyone thinks I’m a hard guy because I yell,” Hartman said. “But when Aaron went in, I had to look away. I was getting emotional.
“I thought, we had spent the entire season talking to Aaron and Teddy about how things would be when they came back to play. I spent many nights with my kids praying for them. And now, it was happening.
“I asked him how it was, and he said he was tired. I told him to be ready. He will probably go in for the final minute of the game.”
With 1:36 to play, Miller went back into the game. Karlen tried to make a pass to him to score, but the ball bounced off his hands.
“It was just incredible to see him back,” Karlen said. “When he first got back to school, I gave him a high five, but to be back playing, that was incredible. It moves you and makes you work hard every day.”
Hartman knew this win was special, but he got a reminder from Miller.
“Aaron sent me a text message, thanking me for putting him into the game,” Hartman said.
“I thought about it. After all he’s been through and he’s thanking me for putting him in the game. I texted back and said, ‘No, thank you. It was one of the greatest coaching highlights of my career, having you play and come back.’”
Looking to the future
After an arduous detour, Miller is back where he started — working again to play football for the Hubs.
“It was just a lot of prayers that went into it,” Miller said of his recovery. “The doctors were great and it was great the way everyone supported me. I thank God.”
Miller’s strides to remission are the answer to his parents’ prayers.
“I’m elated,” Robin Miller said. “It’s unbelievable that he’s doing so well. We didn’t think he would be here at this time. He still has some obstacles. We are so thankful for all the support. It’s been a journey.”
Aaron Miller is resuming his pursuit to play football, and he can’t wait to take the field.
“We are going to go undefeated next year,” he said with a confident smile.
If that holds true, in Miller’s eyes, he will just be continuing his winning streak.
“I feel like I was undefeated this year,” he said. “I’m still here.”