Like any other college athlete, Thomas DiPlacido is just trying to find his place on the field.
The former Xaverian standout and Wrentham native is a sophomore at Sacred Heart University, his first year there as a preferred walk-on with the lacrosse program, and recently survived the first round of cuts after the fall season.
That he is able to play at all is nothing short of a miracle.
July 30, 2010, started off just like any normal day. DiPlacido was spending his Friday working at his summer job for his father's construction company. While sweeping out the basement at the job site, he noticed a funny smell that made him light-headed so headed off to another sector, but had to stop and sit down along the way because of the dizziness he was experiencing.
A half an hour later, DiPlacido went back to the basement to finish what he started. It was in those next few minutes that his life was changed forever.
"I went back to go clean up and picked up the pile and was ready to walk up the basement and I just remember a bright light," DiPlacido recalled. "I remember sitting in the corner of the basement, realizing what happened. After the explosion, I knew what happened."
"I was just sitting in the corner, huddled up in the basement," he continued. "I remember waking up and everything from my waist up was numb. The first thing that went through my mind was, 'Am I going to just sit here and wait for someone to come find me or am I going to get up and go look for help?'"
The soon-to-be high school senior collected his wits enough to pull himself over a nine-foot concrete wall and race into the street shouting for help. Fellow workers on the site saw him running and quickly covered him with a blanket.
"He was still on fire," his mother, Charise, remembered. "One of the workers said they saw him running out of the house after it collapsed in. One of the movers wrapped a blanket around because he was on fire. They all started trying to help him and it was a chaotic scene."
It was later determined that the explosion was likely caused by a release of propane gas in the basement of the duplex condominium where DiPlacido was working. One worker died as a result of the blast and seven others were injured.