Brunker Leading Middleton After Near-Death Experience - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Brunker Leading Middleton After Near-Death Experience

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Brogan Brunker is Middleton boys' basketball's leading scorer so far this season.  It's a bit surprising, considering what Brunker has been through over the last year and a half.  

It all started in the summer of 2016.  What began as an injured ankle turned into a staph infection and then turned into Lemierre's Syndrome - a rare infection that can be fatal.

"It wasn't until I went into septic shock where they had to paddle me and restart my heart that they realized there was like a collection of fluid in my lung that got infected," said Brunker.  "And my body started killing itself."

Brogan lost about 50 pounds over the course of about 3 months.

"I had probably about 40 different IVs in me," said Brunker.  "I was just going with the flow.  I wasn't going to freak myself out.  I knew it could go bad.  And I made it out, that's all that matters."

He was discharged in the fall, but the recovery continued from home.

"I got really sad," said Brunker.  "The depression started kicking in, but I just knew I was going to be alright."

Brogan tried coming back for the second half of the hoops season last year, but he still felt exhausted.

"I was not me," said Brunker. "I would think about doing things I could normally do, but I couldn't - which is frustrating. But I told myself I will get there.  Keep working at it, and eventually it all came back around.

Brogan recovered - but then had another setback before the Middleton 2017 football season.  He injured his wrist, had to have surgery, and missed his senior season on the gridiron.

Luckily, this hoops season marks a brand new chapter in Brogan's life.  Through five games he's averaging 22 points per game.

"[Brogan] kind of realized, 'this is my senior year, this is my last opportunity'," said Middleton boys' basketball coach Kevin Bavery.  "I'm trying to remember the last time I had someone that was so 'all in'."

"In the moment [the situation] sucks," said Brunker.  "Dreams are ruined.  But, the amount of opportunity and the lives that I've affected through my journey is more important than anything else.

Brogan says people who have also been affected by Lemierre's syndrome have reached out through social media.  After the basketball season, he's hopeful he will have an opportunity to play in college.

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