COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - After more than a month in the hospital, a Colorado Springs athlete overcame a life-threatening battle tied to having the flu.
About six weeks ago, Schafer Reichart was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Aurora from Colorado Springs. He had the flu when it turned into a near-fatal infection.
On Friday, he walked out of the hospital on his own. Schafer still has a long road ahead. One that will include physical therapy, getting back into school and hopefully getting back to basketball playing for Doherty High School. 11 News partner CBS Denver was there when he left the hospital.
"Just being with my family in my house with my dog Summit, I can’t wait to see her,” Schafer said of finally getting to go home. “No matter what, you can trust God. You know He fights your battles for you, He’s got a plan, and I just got to trust Him and let Him do what only He can do.”
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"It was a shock," friend Brody Gish told 11 News when Schafer was first hospitalized. "You know, we all kind of thought it was the flu, and I get a call from my dad and he's like, 'Schafe is in pretty tough shape, and he's kind of fighting for his life.'"
"I was super shocked," said another friend, Trevor Olderbik. "I was nervous, but then I prayed to God, so I just knew that he's a tough fighter, so he's good."
In late January there was a moment of silence in a place usually filled with noise. Schafer's friends and Doherty teammates were sporting red shoes and armbands for him in The game was against Coronado. Red is one of the colors for Ohio State University, Schafer's favorite college team. While his teammates hit the court, Schafer was about 60 miles away in Denver at the time, laying in a bed at Children's Hospital.
"There was quite a few days if we didn't know if we'd have Schafer," said his coach, Eric Stenert. "It hit us hard. It hit me hard."
All of School District 11 has been showing their support to Schafer. The family has extended their thanks to the community, and Tuesday night took to social media to share some good news.
"So we're going one week tomorrow since our son Schafer contracted influenza which turned into a horrible strep infection," his parents stated in part of the video posted to social media. "[The strep] took over his whole body resulting in heart failure, lung failure and kidney failure. He truly was on the brink of death. We have a different prognoss a week later."
A positive prognosis.
"Rather than him fighting for his life now, he's on the road to recovery," his parents went on in the video. "The next step for Schafer is to get off this ventilator. So we're pretty excited about that."
11 News learned Schafer did not have a flu shot. His family members got theirs last week and they hope others will do the same.
Click here for information on a GoFundMe supporting Schafer.
Click here to read the original story by 11 News partner The Gazette.