GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Like a lot of high school baseball teams, the Northview Wildcats head to Florida every year for spring break. Most of the time nothing out of the ordinary happens, just some baseball and fun in the warm Florida sun. But, last year things literally flipped upside down and a team's timely reaction proved costly for the life of a teammate.
"The boys were, you know, being boys, playing basketball, doing what we would want them to do, out having some fun and, yeah, a weird thing happened," said Northview baseball coach Jason Denton.
Following a practice, the team was playing basketball on a court with 9-foot rims. Naturally, Josh Greiffendorf tried to take advantage of the shorter rims when everything went wrong.
"I was dribbling down the court, went up for the dunk, had like too much momentum going forward and fell off landing right on my head," explained Josh Greiffendorf.
Instantly, his teammates knew how serious it was.
"'Oh, it was terrifying," said Josh's teammate Alex Riemersma. "We saw his head hit the ground and everybody kind of went into shock a little bit."
But, immediately they got help, running to a nearby fire department and calling 911. Their quick and decisive actions proving costly.
"We got the fire department there and hopefully we did Griff a favor," said Riemersma.
"They did all the right things," added Denton. "they reacted quickly and they made the right calls, they did not hesitate, they didn't,wonder what to do and honestly, every minute was counting at that point.'
Soon, Josh`s parents learned how serious the injury was. Leaking spinal fluid out of his ears, Josh was rushed into surgery.
"Actually it was an ex-military surgeon that did it and he called it big boy brain surgery," said Josh's father Rob Greiffendorf. "Basically, he said that we need to get him in right now and get the pressure of the brain and obviously, find the bleed and stop it.'
Josh had a fractured skull and bleeding of the brain, which required part of his skull to be removed and 52 stitches. After waking up from the four hour surgery Josh had one thing on his mind.
"The doctors were all around me trying to describe, kinda like, what happened to me and all I all that came to my mind was the national championship game that happened that night, because I had, like, a pretty big bet on it. Well, it was it was like, $5, but I bet for Duke and so, I just asked them who won the game.'
A year later Josh is back playing baseball again and on this year`s trip to Florida Josh had some unfinished business on that rim, throwing down a dunk, this time accident free.
"I just needed, like, redemption on the hoop, I guess.," said Josh. "It got me once, so I had to get it back at it."