For Andrew Papenfus, life decided that he needed to take a hiatus from everything, including basketball. Something much more important became his top priority.
On June 17, 2014, Papenfus suffered a seizure after demonstrating a drill during a Broncos’ camp for kids. He was immediately taken to a hospital in San Jose. After two days, doctors determined that Papenfus had a benign brain tumor.
Papenfus knew that he had to have brain surgery to remove the tumor soon. After a few months of going back and forth on whether to delay the surgery until after the upcomong season, Papenfus went under the knife in early October.
He returned to the court on Jan. 31 in a game at BYU, where he recorded one assist in four minutes of action. He would go on to play in two more games as a Bronco before he graduated.
Papenfus’ return to the court proved so much about his mental strength off the court. Any Division I basketball player can tell you how hard it is to play at the D-I level. Years and years of practice and hard work separate the pretenders from the contenders. Papenfus knew that having brain surgery on his tumor would greatly impact his ability on the court in his final season. He knew how tough it was to get to where he was at. But he made the tough choice. He put his basketball career on hold so that his life-threatening tumor could be removed.
While his career in a Broncos uniform is over, Andrew Papenfus will be remembered for the fight he brought to a disease that has impacted so many. His battle through adversity serves as hope for anybody fighting cancer. Andrew Papenfus: 1, Cancer: 0.