This season high school basketball fans will witness a miracle on the court. Cathedral High School standout James Franklin Jr. is ready to play this season after having a part of his brain removed.
The surgery was to prevent seizures. He’s dealt with the condition since he was born.
“They like how are you living to this day? They didn’t expect me to be here to be honest with you, ” the 17-year-old point guard said.
James is a walking, basketball playing miracle. He had a stroke shortly after birth. That left scar tissue on his brain that caused seizures. Meaning mom and dad always had to watch him. James had a seizure on the court last December as his dad looked on.
“And I ran down the bleachers and got him before he fell and I just said, ‘Hey man, Riley it is.’ It’s not even a question that’s where we’re going,” James Sr. said.
After years of seeing another doctor who said the seizures were stressed-related and none of the medicine was working for James, the family finally decided to head to Riley Hospital for Children. That’s where they met Dr. Jodi Smith and Dr. Kelly Kremer.
“We wanted to find that area of the brain that was causing seizures and if possible take it out,” said Smith, a pediatric neurosurgeon.
Tests showed removing the part of the brain with seizure activity shouldn’t affect his motor skills. James’ biggest concern was being able to play basketball after surgery.
“I left the grid on the surface of the brain and literally cut out the area of the seizure focus and left that out and left the motor cortex the important part of the brain just on there so I wouldn’t go any farther forward and literally resected that entire area which was not an insignificant area it was quite a large area of brain,” Smith said.
And a month later a 17-year-old has his life back. James hasn’t had a single seizure since the surgery.
“I’m thankful for that and feel like I’m at the point where I don’t have to worry about anything and so do my parents and it’s a happy life right now,” James said.
James Sr. and his wife Tamieka say they never realized how much of an impact James’ seizures had on the family because it was their definition of normal. Now the entire family is looking forward to a successful recovery and this year’s basketball season.
James already has an in-state scholarship offer. However, his dream is to play for the University of Kentucky.