TROY, TX (FOX 44) — For Troy defensive lineman Nakoda Layton, the road to get back to the field wasn’t easy.

“He’s been through so much,” Nakoda’s mom, Shalon said.

In 2021, the week after playing the Robinson Rockets, ‘Koda’ Layton came home with a lump on his neck.

“He said it showed that past week,” Shalon said. “I told him to shower and get dressed and we went to the E.R.”

When the doctors ran some tests, the worst possible news came back.

“Five days later, [the doctors said] you’ve got Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage two,” Shalon said.

“My mom and I both started crying,” Nakoda said. “The first question I asked my mom, I asked, am I going to live?”

Shalon said that’s a tough question to have to answer as a parent.

“That was so hard, that’s when I broke down,” Shalon said. “Thinking he’s thinking he’s gonna die but he wants to live, he wants to have a life.”

Koda began his fight, but was ruled out from any high school athletics for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. The community rallied around the Layton family, holding fundraisers while the football team held a hair-shaving event in honor of Nakoda.

“I’m so proud to be from this community,” Nakoda’s dad, Randy said. “They were amazing.”

Eventually, the scans came back clear, and Nakoda returned to the football field. Now, Koda looks forward to his senior year, with a new lease on life.

“You’re never alone, there’s always people, whether you know it or not you know it, there’s always people behind you no matter what,” Nakoda said.

Koda steps back under the Friday night lights on August 26th against Whitney.