Two high school kids collided during a routine drill in the middle of an ordinary summer basketball camp afternoon.

No blood. No broken teeth. No banged heads.

And yet now, more than a month later, it seems like that most ordinary moment at Lebanon Valley College may have helped save Four McGlynn's life.

After picking himself off the floor, the Dallastown High junior-to-be began feeling dizzy.

Then he started repeating himself.

"We're standing there, and he started asking me over and over, 'What are we doing? What's going on? Did you do this?' said Kevin Donahue, a York Suburban junior and McGlynn's roommate at that camp.

"He was spaced out, his eyes were glazed over. He had no idea what was going on."

The symptoms pointed to a concussion, even though his head hadn't absorbed a direct hit. To be safe, Lebanon Valley coach Brad McAlester quickly drove McGlynn 20 minutes to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

And, suddenly, some frightening puzzle pieces were about to fit into place.

The headaches, as he can best recall, began seven or eight months ago. Sometimes his vision would blur temporarily. Exhaustion washed over him.

Eventually, C's somehow popped up on the report card of the honor student who plans to study business or law -- and play Division I basketball, of course -- at a place like Lafayette or Penn.

But there weren't easy answers.

Doctors checked out McGlynn and found nothing wrong, offering nothing more than painkillers for the headaches. Plus, the 6-foot-1 McGlynn, a smooth dribbler and outside shooter, kept playing, and playing well. He led his Wildcats in scoring and is expected to be one of the top players in the YAIAA this winter.

Basketball still occupied just about every moment of his life that it could. His offseason included daily pickup games, playing in the family half-court gym behind his house and playing on four summer-league teams.

How sick can he be when he's scoring 20 points one night and 25 the next? Or when one playground game turns into five and then 10 and then 15, stretching through an entire afternoon?

Then there's this: Though soft-spoken and polite, Four (a nickname for Patrick the fourth) has developed a stunning tolerance for pain and punishment, all in the name of basketball.

He simply stopped talking about the headaches months ago, partly because he got used to them -- partly because he knew if he complained that more doctors might be called on to investigate, interrupting basketball.

Then take the time an opposing player accidentally hit him in the mouth, breaking a tooth and exposing the nerve.

"He took two aspirin and kept playing," his father said. "The dentist said it had to be excruciating pain. ... (But) he just said he wanted to play. He was mad. That type of mentality is hard to guage. He just learns to deal with stuff."

So despite the lingering questions, life rolled on for the McGlynns, heavy and hectic.

Four's mother, Robyn, fell and broke her arm in early June. Less than two weeks later she decided to proceed with scheduled back surgery.

Meanwhile, Pat McGlynn was busy chauffeuring Four to camps and practices and games, all while coaching his 10-year-old son, Brandon's AAU team.

Four collapsed into bed more often in the evenings as spring turned into summer, but it was after playing a dozen games in a weekend, including those with an AAU team run by Philadelphia 76er Donyell Marshall.

"I don't know of a player in my program who works more at his game, particularly the individual part," said Tom Triggs, the York Suburban boys' coach. "I haven't been around a player committed to the game and willing to put the time in he's willing to put in."

So even when Four was suffering from chills and more exhaustion at the beginning of the Lebanon Valley camp, he figured he had just caught a flu bug from a teammate.

No one knew about the danger building, hiding.

It all happened so fast on that final day of June.

Instead of picking up Four and taking him to yet another basketball camp, Pat McGlynn rushed to Hershey to meet his family at the hospital.

There was a CAT scan and then an MRI.

Someone mentioned, "tumor."

"We about had a heart attack," said Pat McGlynn, who slept maybe 15 minutes that night at the hospital. "Oh my God, we were thinking he has cancer."

The next morning brought hope. A pediatric neurosurgeon told the McGlynns that the MRI showed a fluid-filled cyst, not a more complicated, troublesome tumor.

At least that was something to lean on before their son had two holes drilled in his head as part of a three-hour brain surgery. There, doctors found that a marble-sized cyst was blocking the cerebral spinal fluid from draining, causing a dangerous fluid build-up around his brain. A new drainage area was carved out, which immediately corrected the problem.

When Four did wake up, coherent and clear-thinking for the first time in more than a day, a peace filled the room: The headaches had suddenly vanished.

Then he was told that he could play basketball again.

He was discharged from the hospital in two days and was shooting baskets in the home gym soon after.

A week later, biopsy results came back showing that the cyst was benign: There was no cancer.

So within a month he was scoring a dozen points to lead a furious comeback victory in an AAU game in Florida.

He is back to weightlifting at 8 a.m., speed and agility training at 10 and drills and pickup games three afternoons a week at Penn State York.

But life has changed, at least in small ways.

Four spoke about his experience to a group of kids at an AAU tryout, wowing them all, it seemed.

"It can be taken away from you at any time," he said about sports. "It was just to let kids know not to take anything for granted."

And, now, though his legs are still a bit weak and he worries about getting hit in the head accidentally, he is on his way.

He doesn't have to see a doctor again until October.

Sometimes the emotion pours out all at once now, tears of relief and thankfulness, when the McGlynns talk about everything that has happened.

A brain cyst causing a serious blockage is "very, very rare," said Dr. Mark Iantosca, who performed the surgery. "We see maybe one a year."

And it could have been fatal.

If left unattended, the increasing cerebral fluid could have caused enough pressure on Four's brain to trigger strokes, a coma and possibly "brain death," Iantosca said.

When he arrived at the hospital, Four's heart rate was slowing, and surgery was considered vital in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Which brings the story back to the routine drill at the ordinary camp.

Start with how Four actually was scheduled to attend an out-of-state camp that week, only deciding to cancel at the last minute and go to LVC to be with friends.

There also was the striking coincidence that a collision without head trauma not only caused serious enough symptoms, but that they appeared with a gym full of people around to detect them.

Then, consider how no one would have faulted McAlester for simply waiting a couple of hours at camp that day and handing the kid off to his family to figure out what to do.

The McGlynns know they could have picked up their son and just driven him home, thought he was dehydrated, given him some medicine for the flu and told him to get some sleep.

And who knows what would have happened.

"We almost lost our son," Pat McGlynn said. "I can't say any more about what the coach did."

McAlester shrugs off his part, saying he did only what a coach is supposed to do. "Maybe (the collision) was a Godsend. ... I have a junior in high school, and I'm thinking, 'This could be my son.' It puts everything in perspective."

Robyn McGlynn still can't talk about it without choking up.

"We say all the time, 'Four, that was destiny. That camp was destiny. That coach was destiny.'"

Those tears come again.

"It's not his time," she said. "Thank God it happened the way it did. Who knows? What would have happened if we would have let him fall asleep that night?"

Fortunately, they never will have to know.

Instead, they watch over their son a little closer now and always see reminders, like the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelet on his left wrist.

The one he said he had to buy on the way home from the hospital.

"He realizes" his mother said, "that he got a second chance."