ROSEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — Northwestern University in Roseville is back in the NCAA Division III basketball tournament.

They start five seniors, but it looked like it might be only four. Because Will Gisler had to get through so much just to play in his final year.

He looks healthy now, preparing for an NCAA Tournament game. It’s hard to believe, because this summer he was at the Mayo Clinic with a stomach problem.

“They opened him up thinking they were going to have to remove some of his small intestine. Found out that he had a puncture in his small intestine and an infection the size of his head in his abdomen area,” Northwestern coach Tim Grosz said.

What they found was scary.

“Not initially what they thought it was. It was something else, so it ended up being a tear in my small intestine,” Gisler said. “I kind of had this pocket of fluid building up so I was losing weight like crazy but I was bloated.”

That’s why it’s hard to imagine he got back to here, to the basketball court.

“He didn’t eat for about a month and lost probably 50 pounds. I went and saw him at Mayo and when I saw him he was a completely different person,” Grosz said.

He’s come back alright, and performed at a high level.

“I feel good. I’m healthy and don’t have any long-term complications for the most part. Not a bit of pain,” Gisler said.

“He scored his 1,000th point this year, he’s a second team all-conference player for us and one of our leaders,” Grosz said.

He’s survived, and now he’s one of five senior starters in their final season. A season filled with renewed appreciation.

“I thought for sure that I wasn’t’ going to play so to be able to play is just a blessing,” Gisler said.

Northwestern plays at UW-Whitewater Friday night in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.


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