Summer of surgeries: Scotty Henrichs returns to Granite Bay football
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brad Fina - QB
Scotty Henrichs - WR
Isaiah Lewis - WR
Ethan Milner - S
Ryan MacIntosh - LB
2015 GBHS Football Schedule
Aug. 28 - Jesuit at Granite Bay - 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 - Granite Bay at Cosumnes Oaks - 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 18 - Granite Bay at Vacaville - 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 - Folsom at Granite Bay* - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 - De La Salle at Granite Bay - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9 - Oak Ridge at Granite Bay* - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 - Granite Bay at Nevada Union* - 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 23 - Woodcreek at Granite Bay* - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30 - Granite Bay at Rocklin* - 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 - Granite Bay at Del Oro* - 7:30 p.m.
* denotes Sierra Foothill League game
No player has looked forward to taking the field more this season than Granite Bay’s own Scotty Henrichs.
Just a few months ago, the 17-year-old wide receiver wasn’t even sure if he would even get the chance to play in his senior season. His ribs were broken, on purpose, he lost 40 pounds in less than a month and he went through seven operations and three major surgeries. But miraculously, he's made a full recovery.
“It was definitely a grind, but it’s worth every second of it when I can be out there with my teammates,” Henrichs said.
From roughly the end of 2014 to the beginning of this summer, Henrichs battled pneumonia-like systems constantly — a mysterious illness that kept the three-sport athlete out of the dugout and off the field during his baseball team’s impressive playoff run to the Division I finals.
“I constantly visited the doctor and I would take the pills, or whatever they gave me, but nothing would work,” Henrichs said. “Finally, I got a chest x-ray, which we were asking for forever.
“As soon as I took that x-ray, the doctor immediately called and said I had to go to the hospital.”
Henrichs could be found later that same night in the cancer ward of Sutter Medical Center in the intensive-care unit (ICU).
“It was tough just being in there,” he admitted. “You’re surrounded by these astonishing young survivors. I was in there with a seven-year-old who had undergone ten surgeries — that was the worst part, just seeing them go through that.”
Unlike most patients, Henrichs didn’t leave the ICU after his first operation. His doctor’s relentless search for what was wrong and the growing number of surgeries required the then 16-year-old to remain under constant surveillance.
“I lost 40 pounds through it all and underwent seven operations and three major surgeries, where they went in and cracked my ribs completely open to get to my lungs,” Henrichs said. “That’s why I had to wait to get back on the field with football — my ribs had to heal.”
Even after several biopsies to remove infected pieces of Henrichs’ lungs, the senior continues to see the doctor each week.
“They think it was IgG4, which is some super rare disease that they’ve only seen in five kids my age,” Henrichs said.
IgG4 is a relapsing–remitting immune-mediated fibroinflammatory disease, which causes inflammation and tissue buildup in the affected organs. This buildup can lead to organ dysfunction, or even organ failure, if not treated.
“To be honest, it was tough,” Henrichs confessed. “I play three sports, so I’m used to a lot of tough practices and stuff like that, but those are nothing compared to waking up in the morning after surgery with broken ribs — you just don’t want to get out of bed.”
Throughout his hospital stay, coaches and players stayed in contact with Scotty and the Henrichs family — all just waiting for a glimpse of good news.
“Coach (Jeff) Evans came to the hospital two or three times to check on me and was calling or texting me every single day,” Henrichs pointed out. “It was great to have his support.”
The team’s starting quarterback, Brad Fina, was also on edge throughout the summer as his closest friend underwent surgery after surgery.
“Brad’s family and my family are really close, so everyone was texting me and they were all worried about me,” Henrichs said. “They definitely helped me get through this.”
As seventh graders, Fina and Henrichs moved to Granite Bay at roughly the same time and the instantly became best friends.
“I got to know him right of the bat when he moved here,” Fina said. “So obviously I was really worried when he went to the hospital because no one had any clue as to what it was. I was always checking in on him — it was scary. And from a football aspect, we had talked about playing together as seniors since we started as freshmen.”
While Henrichs saw significant action last season at wideout, Fina has had to wait his turn. But now, as his senior season rolls around, he finally has the keys to the offense.
“He has worked his butt off the last two years,” Henrichs said. “So it’s great to see him starting. He throws a great ball and he’s taken a leadership role on offense this year. He’s not the most vocal guy on the field, but he has stepped it up so far this season.”
Although Henrichs had to miss most of the summer practices, he was able to return to the Grizzlies offense near the end of July when his ribs were fully healed.
In his debut, Fina dialed up Henrichs’ number on a streak down the right sideline.
“You just knew I was going to my favorite target Scotty for the touchdown on the first drive back from recovery,” Fina later wrote on Twitter.
“He always wants me to throw it to him and I have the most confidence in him,” the senior quarterback added. “So when I saw he had one-on-one coverage, I knew I was going to him.”
Displaying few ill effects from his summer of surgeries, Henrichs sprinted past his coverage and caught the pass in stride.
“It’s good to have your best friend at quarterback,” he joked.
Fans will catch their first glimpse of Henrichs Aug. 28 as the Grizzlies open at home against Jesuit.
No one is looking forward to that matchup more than Henrichs.
“I couldn’t be happier to be back on the field,” Henrichs confessed.