Santa Clara basketball senior forward Andrew Papenfus will undergo surgery on Tues., Sept. 23 at 6 am to remove a tumor located on the left front portion of his brain, Bronco head coach Kerry Keating announced on Thursday. The tumor is non-cancerous, and was discovered in June when Papenfus suffered a seizure as a result of its presence. The surgery will be at UCSF and headed by Dr. Berger.
"I want to thank my teammates, our coaching staff, and the entire athletic department for their tremendous support during this hardship," said Papenfus, a 6-5 forward from Snowmass, Colo. "I am also grateful for the support from the Santa Clara community and from my friends and family back home in Aspen. Everybody's support has given me the strength to stay positive during this adversity. I have and will continue to grow as a person from this experience."
Papenfus played in 15 of 33 games in 2013-14, averaging 5.9 mpg. Prior to last season, he was a SCU team manager and practice player. He played the 2011-12 season at Division II Hawaii-Hilo where he played in 25 of 26 games, averaging 2.1 ppg and 1.3 rpg prior to transferring back to Santa Clara.
"Andrew had a tremendous off season for us, and really established himself in the leadership role that a senior needs to be in," said Keating. "His work ethic and rapid improvement provided great optimism for opportunity to play more this season. Obviously, that is all secondary to his well being and health. And as we have come to expect of Andrew, this obstacle has been met by an unreal approach of positivity and strength. He continues to thrust himself into a caring and serving role for his young teammates and our program - which speaks volumes about his selfless character and mental resolve. Amazingly, our numerous discussions this off season have been less about him and more about his team."
"Andrew is a warrior, a fighter, but he cares more about the next guy in the program so much so that he considered waiting to remove this tumor," said Keating. "After considering the options with his family and doctors, the best course is to remove this now to better assess the possible short and long term effects, if any, and deal with them as best he can."
Keating said Papenfus will continue to be a member of the team in whatever role he wishes and his health will allow, and the Broncos are hopeful for a successful surgery and eventual recovery that will enable him to do that at his own pace and ability.
Papenfus is hopeful to stay on course to graduate in the spring, and is currently working with professors on making any possible adjustments as a result of the surgery. He is majoring in Marketing with a minor in Entrepreneurship.