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Jones Family Returns to All-Star Football Field, 14 Years After Son’s Accident

As a toddler, Harris Jones almost lost his right leg after being hit by a snowmobile. He spent 67 days in the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHaD) after the accident, with a broken bone and a growth plate injury so serious that doctors weren’t initially sure if they could save his leg.

At two and a half years old, Harris endured more than 40 surgeries. But ultimately, the prognosis was positive. Not only did his leg make it, but it healed enough to give Harris back full mobility—relearning how to run, jump, and play just like any other kid his age.

Now 14 years later, Harris is putting on the Team West jersey, playing as a tight end and a defensive lineman in the NH East-West High School All-Star Football Game to benefit Dartmouth Health Children’s and CHaD on Friday, June 28. His place on Team West comes after a successful football career at Milford High School as a quarterback and middle linebacker.

Harris Jones at the first All-Star Football game in 2012

“It’s an honor to be able to play in the game, to be playing with the best football players in the state,” Harris says, adding that he’s excited to “give back to the place that gave so much to me when I was in need. It also means a lot to me to show some of the kids that maybe are struggling in the hospital that you can still succeed in life no matter what happened to you.”

Joining Harris on the field as Team West’s head coach is his father, Keith Jones. This isn’t the first All-Star Football game for either of the two. In 2012, Keith served as founding coach for the inaugural game for Team West and then 6-year-old Harris kicked off that game by doing the coin flip.

“Harris was our little secret weapon that day,” Keith says of winning that first game after his son flipped the coin to start the competition. Keith has also coached the Milford High School team, including during Harris’ tenure on the team, for 23 years. “And now what an honor it is going to be, as a senior in high school, that he was selected to play in the game, and I’ll get to coach him one last time.”

This fall the pair will both be stepping into new chapters. Harris will be a freshman at Plymouth State University, and Keith announced he will be stepping down as head coach at Milford High School following Harris’ graduation, to be more available to spend time with his children.

Although football has been a large part of their lives, the sport isn’t the only thing bringing the father/son duo back to the All-Star field. “I can never repay the debt that these people did for us,” Keith says of the caregivers of CHaD and Dartmouth Health Children’s. “Harris was in a fight to save his leg, and as tough as that was, these people went above and beyond to care for us and to make us almost part of their family. I’ve always said, any way we can give back, my family, we will.”

Keith adds that for the players of the All-Star game, while this is “the number one game in New Hampshire to show your talents,” it is also an “opportunity to affect people’s lives that you’ve never met before and learn that it’s your obligation to leave your community better than you found it. What a great way to establish that as a young person going out into the world, that you touched people and that you could contribute in this fashion with a talent that not everybody has.”

To learn more about the NH East-West All-Star Football Game or our other Dartmouth Health Children's community fundraising events, please contact Andrea Denhart at or at 603-646-5912.

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Eva Botkin-Kowacki

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