Some teens count themselves as fortunate to make the high school basketball team.
Others feel lucky if they make the starting lineup.
Brownwood senior point guard Blake Bronniman, on the other hand, feels blessed simply to be alive.
His numbers — 5.8 points, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game — aren’t enough to have the Duke Blue Devils calling his home anytime soon. But when one considers what Bronniman endured just to suit up, his statistics, small or large, could be viewed as icing.
It all began shortly after last basketball season, when Bronniman began feeling ill during a church convention in March. When the illness persisted for a few days, he was taken to a doctor, who diagnosed him with a stomach bug.
Six days into the illness, he was taken to the hospital, where it was discovered he had actually suffered a ruptured appendix. He remained hospitalized for three weeks, lost roughly 50 pounds and was told by doctors he was fortunate to have survived the ordeal.
“It was hard,” said Bronniman, whose weight dropped from 170 to 120 pounds. “I could barely walk without having to lean on my mom or dad.”
Gradually, as Bronniman regained his weight and strength, he began to prepare for the upcoming basketball season and looked forward to a senior year on an up-and-coming Brownwood team that had playoff potential.
“When he came back he looked like an 8-year-old,” Brownwood basketball coach Nadir Dalleh said. “He was already thin to begin with so that was some weight he didn’t need to lose.
“But he did a good job of coming back. He put his weight back on, worked his tail off all summer and recovered from it.”
Bronniman’s ordeal, however, wasn’t quite finished.
Roughly three weeks before the start of basketball, he was struck by a car while doing some fence work with his father near Brownwood. The impact flipped him over the hood of the vehicle and onto the windshield.
Bronniman suffered a concussion during the mishap. But he quickly came to realize that things could have been far worse, when he reached down and couldn’t feel his legs.
He could move them, but the appendages remained numb until a doctor began to examine him within the hour.