Bay Port junior Logan Bruntz (Rich Palzewic photo).
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – Bay Port boys’ basketball player Logan Bruntz is lucky to be near full recovery at this point.
Just four short months ago on Thanksgiving Day, the junior Bruntz fell out of a tree while climbing to a deer-hunting stand. The sudden calm of celebrating with others, watching football and eating, turned into a trip to the emergency room where it was discovered that he crushed two vertebrate in his back.
“I was a little bored waiting for the Thanksgiving celebration to start, so I decided to go out and do a little hunting,” said Bruntz. “I was hunting on my grandparent’s property about a mile away from my house. I was in a ground stand most of the day, but then I saw a tree stand and decided to sit up there for the last hour of hunting.”
Bruntz said that the pegs in the tree were getting further and further apart, so he stepped on a tree branch about 15-20 feet high – that’s when it gave way and he started tumbling towards the ground.
“It was really quick, but on the way down I broke a few braches off the tree,” he said. “My dad didn’t think I was up that high until I showed him. I landed in a seated position and it gave me a compression fracture where I broke L-2 and T-12. I was screaming for a few minutes and I didn’t even want to try and move. I knew something serious was wrong, but eventually I could move my legs and my arms. I rolled over and tried calling my mom and she didn’t answer. I got a hold of my dad and brother, and they carried me out.”
Bruntz estimates he was lying there for about 15 minutes and the pain got worse on the way to the hospital. Originally, he was given about a six-week timetable to return to activity, but when he went back for a checkup, an x-ray showed he wasn’t fully healed yet. It would be another six weeks recovery, which meant his junior season of basketball with the Pirates would be over.
“I was told the impact wasn’t bad enough to affect my height,” said the 6-foot-3 Bruntz. “I have a great uncle who works in the medical field and he said it was good that two vertebrate were affected rather than just one – it took some of the impact and spread it over both vertebrate … kind of like a cushion.”
Surgery was an option if things didn’t heal properly, but Logan wore a back brace, made frequent visits to the chiropractor (Dr. King) and worked with the Bellin trainers while the team practiced. He is running/working out and is almost completely back to normal, but it hasn’t been without some setbacks.
“The bone is pretty much healed,” he said. “My back will always have a little deformity, so later in life if another doctor takes an x-ray I need to let him know what happened. I did go back to practice towards the end of the season, but later that night I had terrible back spasms … that was it for me.”
Bruntz has also played football in the past, but he’s thinking his playing days may be over in that sport. He’s already looking forward to getting back on the court fulltime soon.
“I hope to have a good season next year with the team,” he said. “We lost 11 seniors from this year, so all of us need to step it up. I’ve learned that you can’t take anything for granted. I feel bad for any senior who has missed playing time due to an injury – at least I still have my senior season to come. Things could have definitely been worse.”
The whole ordeal wasn’t just tough on Logan, but his parents as well.
“I was outside when I got the call from Logan,” said his father Kerry Bruntz. “I thought he was calling to tell me he got a deer, but his voice was too hysterical for that. He said ‘Dad, come and get me … I fell.’ Our other son (Sam) was home on Thanksgiving break and we immediately rushed up there. When we got there and we could see that he could move, that’s when we decided to get him to the hospital. I think Logan took everything in stride. It was probably much more difficult on my wife Marni than him.”
Marni tells a story about a pair of shoes Logan had ordered for the basketball season.
“He had started practicing with the team for a little bit when the season started,” she said. “He and Cordell (Tinch) had ordered these matching, custom-made shoes from Nike with their names on them. The shoes came the day after the accident. It was so hard to hand them to him, but he knew they were coming. I think the toughest part for me was how hard he had worked to get ready for the season. He put in a lot of time and to see him sit the bench every game was difficult.”