Class of 2011: South Senior Gets a New Look at Life
Waukesha South High School senior overcame a serious injury on the football field and gained a new look on life.
For Waukesha South High School senior Drew Papez, sports have been an integral part of his life.
While in high school, Papez has played basketball, golf, baseball and track along with his favorite — football.
“I love football,” Papez said. “Ever since I was little, the goal was to play division one.”
Papez was playing strong in football, excelling on the field and pushing his team forward. However, in his sophomore year, he found his dream of playing endangered after suffering a broken ankle in the first game of the year.
The injury was so bad that Papez had reconstructive surgery the next day and six more surgeries afterward. And worst of all, Papez was told by each doctor he saw that not only could he never play football again, but he would never be able to play sports again.
“But I did play football and I got all conference and I was selected to play in a Wisconsin high school all star game,” Papze said. “I owe it to my parents and God, of course, who has played a role in my life and helping in my comeback.”
The son of two ministers, Papez said he kept his faith strong as he worked to get back to playing and living out his passion for the love of the game.
His comeback has been so successful and he has excelled so much on the field since coming back that Papez said he has gotten inquiries to play football for division one college teams, but is possibly opting to play division three at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the fall.
“Right now I’m undecided if I’m going to play,” Papez said. “I want to play, I can’t imagine my life without it, but at the same time I want to be able to walk when I’m 42.”
While coming back from his own injury, Papez said he also found himself consoling one of his good friends who suffered a serious injury and missed his senior year playing football. Papez said he cried with him and helped him work through it.
Although he may never play a snap in football, Papez said he’s fine with the notion, saying his experiences have helped him gain a new perspective on life and one day he plans to coach to help others.
“One thing it has taught me is that sports isn’t everything,” Papez said. “It’s not everything and there’s so much more to life.
“God’s got a plan for everything. He didn’t break my ankle for a bad reason, he did it to say ‘Now you have patience, now you have a different drive in life.’”