17-year Old Stroke Survivor Will Return to Basketball Court

San Jose Mercury News


It's been a remarkable recovery for the newly turned 17-year-old, who was left temporarily paralyzed last August.


Bauerle -- described by Knights coaches as the best athlete in the junior class before the stroke -- has not only learned to walk, talk and eat again, he's swimming, running and catching and throwing balls. He has been assured roster spots on both the Knights' football and basketball teams -- his inspirational story of rehabilitation ensured that.


Bauerle, however, isn't satisfied with just appearing in the team photo and sitting on the bench -- he wants to earn an on-court role for the Knights' basketball team, to be a contributor and fully regain his athletic prowess.


"I told him the other day, You can't let anybody put limits on you,'" said football coach Ron Myers. "And, thing is, no one is doubting him."


Because of the threat of further injury and conceivably another stroke on the football field, Bauerle is focused solely on basketball and on making himself the best player possible.


"I'm bummed I'm not going to play," Bauerle said of football, his first love. "But I'm lucky it worked out like it did. I got through it, so why worry? I've just got to bite the bullet and keep going."


While Bauerle has regained 80 percent of his skill set, according to his father, the motivated teenager is hardly pleased with his current status.


"I used to be really good," said Bauerle after a recent training session with Tom Curtiss, a Soquel-based personal basketball instructor. "But right now, I'm not good enough to be on the [basketball] team. My dribbling is not good, my shooting is not good. I know I can play with these guys, but I have crappy form. I have to get better."


He has two more months to get into playing shape.


For now, Bauerle's serving as manager on the football team, which will keep him on the sidelines charting plays, getting water and boosting morale -- he's pretty good at that. He never stops smiling.


Bauerle aspires to be more than a name on a basketball's team roster -- he wants to be a contributor on the court. He realizes there's plenty more work to be done to make his goal reality.


The mere fact that Bauerle -- a tan and muscular 5-foot-10, 180-pounder -- is back on his feet, talking, laughing and accepting congratulations from everyone who crosses his path already makes his story remarkable.


A year ago Saturday, the setting wasn't so pretty. It was downright terrifying, if you ask his father.


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