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Three-plus months after undergoing brain surgery, Santa Clara senior forward makes season debut


Santa Clara Athletics

Andrew’s Road to Recovery

After playing in 15 games during the 2013-14 season, Santa Clara senior forward Andrew Papenfus worked hard all offseason in hopes of getting an opportunity to help Kerry Keating’s Broncos in 2014-15. But after suffering a seizure while working a youth basketball camp in June, it was discovered that Papenfus had a non-cancerous brain tumor that needed to be removed.

In a story written by Steve Kroner of the San Francisco Chronicle Christmas Day, Papenfus stated that at first he wanted to hold off on undergoing the procedure until after the season ended. He would ultimately change his mind, undergoing surgery October 6 with the procedure being a successful one.

From that point forward the goal was simply to get back to full strength. And if that meant a return to basketball, even better.

Andrew seems at peace whether he returns to the court or not.

“If I can’t play, I’m not going to be removed from the game,” he said. “I’m still going to be there for my teammates, coaching them on the sidelines. Being what I can be in the capacity I can be. It’s more about the team than myself. ...

“If I am able to play, dreams do come true. Through hard work, dedication and never giving up, you can make a lot of things happen that people think there’s no shot (of happening). I’ll never give up.

“I’ll keep striving to play. I do believe I’m going to play.”

Saturday night during the Broncos’ 78-57 loss at BYU, Papenfus made his season debut. While he didn’t score, missing both of his shot attempts, Papenfus did accumulate one rebound and one steal during his time on the floor. Following the game, BYU sent Papenfus a nice shout-out on Twitter.

Welcome back, Andrew.