Something as simple as eating an unwashed strawberry may have been how Reinert contracted the disease.
“The Honolulu newspaper interviewed me and said I might be the only person on the mainland of America that has ever gotten it,” said Reinert.
That shows just how unlucky Reinert was, but his luck has changed. Despite occasional pain and discomfort in his right leg, Reinert is nearing a full recovery.
He’s back in Minnesota finishing school at the University of Minnesota, where he’s now pitching batting practice to the softball team.
“He challenges them. He’s confident in there and he challenges the hitters,” said pitching coach Piper Ritter.
From baby steps to throwing 65 mile an hour fastballs underhand, Reinert credits his family, friends and God for where he is today.
When we talked to him last year he promised he’d recover, and it was a promise he kept.
“That’s what I remember when we last talked was I’m going to get better. And that attitude and that drive to want to get better is what helped me get better,” said Reinert.
Reinert plays men’s fastpitch softball in the summer and last summer, he was able to do some of that, though he said running was still difficult.
He said he will graduate from the U of M next spring, and he still plans on pursuing a career in horticulture.