You may know him. He's been coaching local athletes for more than three decades. But what you might not know is this coach's battles on the field are nothing compared to the battle he's had for his life.
Jeff Johnson spent 16 years as the head football coach at Patrick Henry High School and 7 years as the coach of football and track at Franklin County High School. Most recently he's been working as an assistant coach for the Patriots.
But beginning in 2009 Johnson faced something that hit harder than any sack or tackle. "It was getting harder and harder to go to practice," Johnson explained.
He was diagnosed with liver disease and told that without a transplant he could die. Johnson was put on a donor waiting list in 2011 but his health was deteriorating. "You have a hard time just putting one foot in front of the other," Johnson explained. "You get exhausted."
Johnson feared the disease could mean the end of his time on the field. "It was terrible because I enjoy football and track and I've been doing this for 33 years. I couldn't see not being able to do that," he said.
After waiting months to get the call, the phone rang late one evening in May. "And we were both getting ready to go to bed and we looked (at the phone) and it was UVa and they said 'we have an organ for you. It's a match. Do you want to accept it?' and I said 'Yes I do.'"
Now three months later Johnson is on the football field for the first week of practice with the Patrick Henry Patriots. He's blowing the whistle and shouting commands to the young players.
His wife watched from the sidelines. "It's a miracle. It's a miracle," said Pam Johnson. "I can't believe he's standing for this long. I can't believe he's hollering this loud. I can't believe he's out here."
Coach Johnson is enjoying every moment with the team and all of the special moments that come with being a husband and dad. "My oldest daughter just got married I got to walk her down the aisle," Johnson said.
Johnson told WDBJ7 he signed up to be an organ donor when he got his driver's license many years ago. He never knew he'd be the one in need of an organ years later.
Now as he steps back on the field he looks forward to the future and many years of coaching. While he says he's not 100 percent yet he's feeling stronger and feeling thankful everyday.
"I got a second chance at life here," Johnson said. "I'm a very lucky guy. I may be the luckiest guy in the world here."