COLORADO SPRINGS — A Doherty High School basketball player spent an entire season in a hospital bed after an illness nearly killed him, but in less than a year, he found his way back on the court.
Junior Schafer Reichart is one of the Spartans leading scorers but 12 months ago he was far from stepping on a court. With the help of his doctors, friends, parents and three brothers, his story is one of perseverance.
“I just thought I was sick, I’d get some medicine and be better,” Reichart said. “Just like one afternoon it just hit me like a wall. I felt the worse I had ever felt in my life.”
It was the start of what would be the fight of Schafer Reichart’s life. The flu combined with strep infection turned into toxic shock syndrome and his organs began to shut down.
“Just thinking about staying alive, basketball wasn’t even part of the picture,” Reichart explained. “My kidneys and my lungs and my heart just couldn’t function anymore.”
With not much time on the clock, Reichart was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital in Denver. The diagnosis was hard for his younger brother Drew to comprehend.
“I didn’t really realize it was super bad until I realized that he could die,” Drew Reichart said. “I was definitely worried. I was just always hoping for the best and praying to God if it was His will to keep Schafer for long, but yeah, I never really knew for sure.”
Reichart was unconscious for nearly a week, feeding tubes and machines kept him alive.
“I remember some details but not much then I woke up and was miserable and in pain,” Reichart explained. “I always knew I was going to make it out. I just trusted in the Lord that He was going to provide for me and take care of me and He did, but I guess the scariest thing was not knowing what all the implications would be.”
After 45 days in the hospital, Reichart saw signs of improvement with rehab and his love for basketball on his mind.
“Even in the hospital when I started PT, the goal was to get back to basketball,” Reichart added. “When I got out of the hospital I was like 6 foot, 110 pounds. I was skin and bones like literal skin and bones. As soon as I got out I started doing my physical therapy, hitting it hard, even extra because I wanted it so bad.”
Reichart was back on the court for his junior season, defying the doctor’s timelines. He said he couldn’t have done it without some help from his most trusted teammate, freshman Drew Reichart.
“He’s been the number one guy to help me through all of this,” Reichart said. “Just because it used to be me dragging him along like c’mon we got to do this and then there were a lot of times I wasn’t motivated and he’s like c’mon dude you want this you got to do it.”
“My dad said ok you have to be the older brother now and I’ve always been bigger so it’s kind of always felt like I’m the older brother,” Drew Reichart said.
While Reichart’s sickness was debilitating in many ways it strengthened the bond between the siblings.
“I think for both of us the realization that life is really short and it can be over in a couple of days just like that, so we were like why spend our time fighting over stupid things,” Reichart explained. “We really worked on our relationship.
“I think when you’re away from a sibling when you come back you want to be around each other more especially since what we’ve been through together and he almost died that definitely brought us together more,” said Drew Reichart.