During spring practice, Gophers coach Jerry Kill singled out Jeff Borchardt as one of the players who was making the biggest strides. Borchardt, a walk-on wide receiver from Wayzata, was starting to see the results of all his hard work.
But in late March, Borchardt went to make a spectacular leaping catch in practice and landed hard, suffering a concussion. He was given a CT-Scan at the hospital and cleared for any of the usual concerns with a head injury – no skull fracture, no internal bleeding.
The doctors, however, did see one abnormality that had them concerned. They ordered a dye-induced MRI. Later that same night, the family received the news. Borchardt, 20, had a brain tumor.
“Your heart just completely sinks,” said Borchardt’s father, Jeff Sr.
Borchardt didn’t let it shake his resolve. Two days later, he was back at practice, supporting his teammates from the sideline. He kept himself in top shape for surgery, which took place Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“Our prayers are certainly with him,” Kill said.
Jeff Sr., said Thursday that the surgery was a complete success. The family is still awaiting the pathology report, which could take until the middle of next week. Borchardt already has set his sights on playing football again in 2016.
“I truly think Jeffrey’s looking at this as just a hiccup in the road,” said Jeff Sr. “He’ll be back stronger than ever.”