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Snakebit! Rural's Frederickson bounces back from run in with copperhead



High school coaches worry about just about everything -- illness, injury, academic issues -- anything that could adversely affect their team.

But veteran Washburn Rural football coach Steve Buhler still never expected the Sunday call he got from Junior Blues standout senior place-kicker Giles Frederickson a few weeks back.

"That was a new one for Chapter 10 of the book we're all going to write someday,'' Buhler said after Friday's 52-7 Class 6A playoff win over Wichita West.

GilesFredericksonWashburn Rural senior kicker Giles Frederickson (6) is congratulated by teammates after kicking an extra point in last Friday's 52-7 Class 6A playoff win over Wichita West. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Buhler, Frederickson and the Junior Blues can smile about the situation now, but there were more than a few tense moments after Frederickson's one-for-the-books experience.

"I was playing catch with the football in my own driveway,'' said Frederickson, who lives in the Lake Pomona area. "The ball went over my head and I was running back to get it and I kind of felt like an electric shock on my left ankle. I was like, 'That was kind of weird.'

"I have been seeing copperhead snakes since I was young and then I looked down and there was a copperhead right there. I ran inside and the initial bite wasn't too bad, but then when the venoms kicked in I could just kind of feel them in my leg and it just felt like it was going to explode.''

Frederickson ended up spending three nights in the hospital, and things got scarier during his hospitalization.

"I think it was like Monday night when I was in the hospital and they were talking about maybe amputating my toes,'' Frederickson said. "It's like when you press on your skin the color comes back, but it wasn't coming back on my toes, so that was my scariest night.''

Fortunately, Frederickson's situation started to improve over the next several days and has continued to improve.

"It took probably a week for it to start really decreasing in swelling a lot,'' Frederickson said. "It was an interesting two weeks for sure, but I feel a lot better.

"Last week I could feel it a little bit, but the last week has been a pretty good recovery process and it feels back to pretty much 100 percent now.''

Frederickson was forced to miss two games, but couldn't wait to get back on the field and help the 8-1 Junior Blues, who are in the midst of one of their most successful seasons in recent memory.

Frederickson, an All-City pick in golf, returned to action with a 6 of 6 performance on extra points in a 42-31 win over Seaman and then was 7 of 7 Friday in the win over Wichita West.

"It was definitely an emotional roller-coaster throughout the whole experience, all the ups and downs,'' Frederickson said.

"It was kind of surreal,'' Buhler said of Frederickson's situation. "You deal with injuries at practice and you see things that happen, but then to have something like that happen, I'm just so happy for him because it really was a struggle for him health-wise.

"He had to be pretty mentally tough to get through what he went through and be able to come back.''

Not that he didn't treat snakes with a healthy respect before, but Frederickson goes out of his way now to give the reptiles a wide berth.

"Every time I get out of my car when I get home I look down on the ground to make sure I'm not stepping on another snake or something crazy like that.''