COLORADO SPRINGS – The closest thing to playing basketball for Schafer Reichart is an outdoor court at the YMCA in his neighborhood. Dribbling and shooting hoops under the watchful eyes of his parents fill a void that was almost lost forever.
Three months ago, the Doherty sophomore was in a medically induced coma and fighting for his life.
“Took a couple days after that to realize my life was not going to be the same for a long time,” he said.
Now he is back home continuing his recovery and dreaming of rejoining his teammates on the court one day.
Back in January, Reichart came down with the flu – twice – eventually leading to a battle with sepsis. He was flown to a Denver-area hospital where his vital organs shut down and spent more than a month under the care of nurses and the thoughts and prayers of his family and friends.
He bears the scars of his time in the hospital; tubes that stuck out of his neck and chest. Reichart is trying to gain weight with the help of a feeding tube and his right forefinger will eventually get better.
The Doherty Spartan basketball uniforms included a shade of red for the rest of the season in honor of Schafe. His love for Ohio State University led to social media shoutouts from men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann and a visit from Doherty alum and assistant football coach Tony Alford.
Schafer’s father Paul said 500 visitors came to visit in his first week in the hospital. Not everyone got to see him but his some of his teammates did. Those visits were some of the biggest motivational factors for him.
“Just seeing them come see me was super great and that’s what kept me going,” Reichart said.
Reichart says he’s trying to get stronger and gain weight – eating almost 5,000 calories every day. He lost almost 40 pounds in the hospital, 106 lbs was his lowest weight.
“It’s kind of frustrating – just strength-wise – not being able to do what I did before but being able to dribble and hold the ball was…. just great,” Reichart said. “I’m not there yet and it’s just motivating me to work my butt off to get back and do all those things.”