A breath of fresh air


Men’s basketball player Cody Bradfisch is finally healthy after a bout of injuries didn’t keep him down

Cody Bradfisch
Cody Bradfisch underwent surgery for his torn lung on June 4, 2009, and three incision marks made during the surgery left scars. Photo by Max Bouvatte.

Treve Bradfisch rarely misses any of her son’s basketball games. Since Cody Bradfisch began playing organized hoops at the age of 8, Treve Bradfisch estimates she has skipped only three of her son’s games.

Which is why it was odd she wasn’t planning on attending her son’s 2 p.m. Amateur Athletic Union game on May 25, 2009.

“I wasn’t going to go — maybe God was telling me I needed to be at that game,” Treve Bradfisch said. “I was booked. But for some reason, I made time.”

Treve Bradfisch was supposed to help her Relay For Life team at a benefit that night. But she called her team’s leader and told her she was going to stop by her son’s basketball game for a bit, just to check in and make sure her son was doing fine.

As it turned out, Treve Bradfisch never made it to that benefit. Instead, she spent two nights with Cody Bradfisch at Christian Hospital in St. Louis.

She tended to her son as he battled through the pain of a torn right lung, which was slowly collapsing.

“I wouldn’t leave him,” Treve Bradfisch said. “There’s no way. I would never leave Cody.”

For Treve Bradfisch, it was obvious from the moment she walked into Francis Howell Central High School’s gymnasium that something was wrong with her son. He looked as if he had “hit a brick wall,” she said.

Cody Bradfisch, a junior shooting guard/small forward on the Webster University men’s basketball team and a secondary education major, also felt that something wasn’t quite right. The injury happened when he drove into the lane and got bumped in the chest by an opponent — standard stuff for a basketball player.

Except that it wasn’t. He didn’t know it at the time, but Cody Bradfisch had just torn his right lung, and it was beginning to collapse. If his mother hadn’t taken him to the emergency room, Cody Bradfisch said there was a good chance he would have gone into cardiac arrest that night. Or worse.

“He’s lucky his lung didn’t collapse completely,” Treve Bradfisch said. “He would have died.”

But Cody Bradfisch — injured as he was — didn’t want to leave his AAU basketball game early. His team was shorthanded and his coach wasn’t at the game yet, so Cody Bradfisch decided to push through. He played the last 12 minutes of the first half, collapsing lung and all.

“Eventually it got worse and worse, and I couldn’t even walk,” Cody Bradfisch said. “I just had like a tight pinching. The coach showed up at halftime and he’s like, ‘I want you to start.’ I played about 30 seconds and I took myself out. I said, ‘I can’t even breathe.’”

Cody Bradfisch remained on the bench until the game ended, then he and his mother drove to the hospital. Cody Bradfisch said he would have gone to the emergency room whether or not his mother was at the game. But having her there certainly helped.

“Having my mom there made it that much better,” Cody Bradfisch said. “Having a family member there, supporting you.”

Once at the emergency room, Treve Bradfisch had to wait seven hours to find out what was wrong with her son. Initially, she and Cody Bradfisch thought it was a heart problem. Cody Bradfisch had been diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), an irregular heartbeat, when he was in the seventh grade.

“It was horrible,” Treve Bradfisch said. “I was thinking about his heart. I was thinking, ‘How is this going to reflect upon him,’ because there’s no life for Cody unless he plays basketball. The kid eats, sleeps and drinks basketball — he loves the game.

Cody Bradfisch
Cody Bradfisch, a junior on the Webster University men’s basketball team, shoots during a game against Bluffton University on Nov. 19 at Grant Gymnasium. Photo by Gale Whitehead.

“If it’s not his heart, if you say his blood pressure is fine, then what is it, what is it? When they did a simple chest X-ray, it came up that he had a hole punctured in his lung. They say it’s really common. It happens mostly to somebody that’s real tall and lanky.”

The aftermath of the injuries

Cody Bradfisch underwent lung surgery after one of the most hectic weekends of his life. He graduated from Jerseyville Community High School on a Sunday, registered for classes at Webster on a Monday and got the surgery on Tuesday, June 4, 2009.

After three weeks of no physical activity, Cody Bradfisch was back where he belonged — on the basketball court.

“I feel like now, knock on wood, I’m pretty close to the way I was before the injury,” Cody Bradfisch said. “This is the first year I can honestly say I feel like I’m in better shape than before the injury.”

Cody Bradfisch said he grew out of his SVT condition as a high-school underclassman and he doesn’t have to take the necessary medication anymore.

However, the injury bug bit twice more during Cody Bradfisch’s freshman and sophomore years at Webster. He sprained his left MCL right before basketball practices season began his freshman year. He sprained his right MCL a few practices into his sophomore season. Each injury kept him out six weeks and forced him to miss 12 total games.

Now that he’s healthy, Cody Bradfisch is ready to focus all his attention on his basketball game. Cody Bradfisch is a gym rat, as he forces himself to make 25 2-point shots, 25 3-pointers and 50 free throws after team practices before taking an ice bath.

“My high-school coach would have to kick me out of the gym,” Cody Bradfisch said. “There was one point where I jokingly asked him, ‘Hey, can I put a mattress in (the gym) and just sleep in here?’”

As a freshman at Webster, Cody Bradfisch played in 18 games and averaged 6.7 points per game. Last season, he played in 24 games and averaged 8.3 points. He hit over 54 percent of his 57 3-point attempts, which was the best percentage on the team.

“Just catching and shooting the basketball, he’s as good as anybody I’ve coached,” coach Chris Bunch said. “One of the things that makes him effective is he cares about it very deeply. He’s very serious when it comes to basketball — (there’s) not a lot of joking around when he’s out there on the court. He probably shoots more on his own than anybody else does. That’s what makes him good.”

So far this year, Cody Bradfisch has averaged 8.5 points and 4.0 rebounds, as the Gorloks are 0-4 to start the season. He’s not happy with how the season has gone so far. But he is happy to be back playing the sport he loves.

“I’m certainly fortunate to be here,” Cody Bradfisch said, “and to be healthy and blessed with the wonderful family and teammates I have.”

Check out a story on how Cody Bradfisch developed into one of the men’s basketball team’s leaders by clicking here.

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