High school basketball star's broken leg reveals cancerous tumor

Because of the cancer, they can't fix his broken leg until his chemo is done.

Imagine being a sophomore in high school, in love with the game of basketball and being moments away from playing in your first varsity contest. 

That exact scenario was playing out for Wahpeton High School's (just across the border from Minnesota to North Dakota) Jacob Petermann, only his dream didn't go as planned. 

The Fargo Forum has the full story. Here's a brief recap. 

During pregame warmups before a game on Jan. 12, Petermann went up for a layup and came down with a broken leg. Just like that his basketball season and varsity debut were gone. 

On an ambulance ride from Devils Lake, North Dakota to Grand Forks – about 90 miles – the emergency vehicle broke down, delaying his arrival at the hospital until 11:30 p.m. A surgeon in Grand Forks then determined it would be best if Petermann underwent surgery at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, where he arrived via helicopter at 3:30 a.m. 

Two days later he underwent surgery and a biopsy, with the results coming back positive for osteosarcoma, a common type of bone cancer, according to the American Cancer Society

A GoFundMe page for Petermann has raised more than $12,000 so far, with a goal of getting it to $15,000. 

Community rallies around him

A little more than 7,000 people live in Wahpeton, the small town just miles across the Minnesota border. Like many small communities, they rally together when one of their own are down. In this case, Petermann, not very fond of the Ensure shakes he was getting at the hospital, was sent some tastier shake mixes from a small business in Wahpeton, Lovin' Nutrition. 

The GoFundMe update on Petermann says competing schools, Fargo South and Shanley, have stepped up to donate to his fun. 

Because of his broken leg, Petermann has to stay at the Twin Cities hospital, and the leg will remain broken until his first round of chemo is over, his mother, Connie, told the Wahpeton Daily News last month. 

“The bone is still broke and they’ve got him lying in a bed and they’ve got a pin going through his fibula," she said. "His leg is up in the air and there are weights on it pulling his fibula to stretch out the femur so those bones aren’t grinding on each other and that bone won’t be fixed until after the three months of chemo so it’s a broken bone he’ll be lying on, so it’s no mobility whatsoever."

Best wishes to Jacob and his family. 

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