Lischka Returns

13 December 2013
Johannes Lischka
Johannes Lischka returns to basketball this weekend following the removal of a brain tumour

By David Hein

Johannes Lischka shocked the basketball community last month when the German international announced he had a brain tumour. The 26-year-old forward underwent successful surgery on November 11.

After saying just playing PlayStation was boring, he returned to training two weeks later to get the basketball back in his hand. This Sunday Lischka plans on playing again for Walter Tigers Tübingen at Phoenix Hagen in a German Beko BBL clash.

Tübingen have struggled all season with just a 2-10 record leaving them in second-to-last place. So the team can definitely use Lischka back in the line-up. talked to the Beko BBL's leading rebounder (7.7 rebounds per game), who also averaged 9.3 points in his first seven games this season.

Why don't we start off with how are you feeling right now?
I'm feeling pretty good right now. I've been practicing with the team and doing everything for the past week and I will play my first game against Hagen on Sunday, so I am really excited about that.

How did it feel to be back on the court with your teammates?
Obviously I missed it a lot. I was back at practice already two weeks after the surgery but I couldn't have any contact, so no 5-on-5 or anything like that. But I have been doing 5-on-5 with the guys and I really missed the competition. Now I'm looking forward to the real thing on Sunday.

Did you sense any sort of hesitation from your teammates when you got back to practice after what you had gone through?
Actually I didn't sense that at all. I myself was a little tentative in the beginning and didn't go that hard after offensive rebounds like I used to and didn't go into the paint as much. But the last couple of days things are back to normal. I'm not thinking about it at all and just playing my game.

Johannes Simon Lischka (Germany)
Johannes Lischka has represented Germany at youth level

If someone looks at the situation and says, why is he already coming back, what would you say to them?
For me, it's my normal attitude to come back as fast as possible. I think I can help the team win games. We've been struggling for the last few games. I just want to do my thing. If I didn't think that I could do what I need to, then I would say I would wait two or three more weeks.

But I feel that I can help the team. So why not?

There are no fears at all?
No, I'm not scared at all. I just can't wait to play basketball again.

Let's go back to when you found out it was a tumor. What were you thinking?
It was obviously a shock. You think, how can this happen? How can this thing come into your head? It's just a shock. It was a good thing that I only had three days to think about it before I had the surgery. The MRI was on a Thursday and the surgery was on Monday so I really only had a chance to think about it for three days. Then it was over with.

And it's gone?
You can't say for certain but like 99.9%. There can always be some cells left. But I will have a new MRI every half year to check if it's coming back. But the chances of it actually coming back are next to none.

How did this change your perspective on life?
That's a good question. I really don't know yet how it changed my perspective. I think when you go through something like that it makes it easier for me to take things a little bit lighter on the basketball court knowing that there are way more important things in life than basketball. It's only a game. That might be something that will help me on the court.

You came into the season and really were playing well. There must have been some frustration in that aspect as well, that you had a strong season slowed by this?
That was a frustrating part too. I had some symptoms of the tumor three or four weeks before the surgery and my last two games against Vechta and Braunschweig I was already not playing so good. I felt on the court that I was getting tired really fast and I wasn't able to do the things that I had done before. Up to that point I was having a really good season. I was rebounding the ball really well and shooting really well. It was tough, but I hope that in the best case on Sunday that I can get back to how I was playing before and go from there. But obviously it will be tough.

You received so much support from the basketball community both before and after the surgery. How did that feel?
It was great, a great feeling that so many teams and ex-teammates and friends from other teams were calling me or leaving me messages on Facebook. It really gave me a good feeling. So many people called on the Sunday before the surgery and wrote me messages and really gave me courage for the surgery and just gave me a good feeling.

What would you like to say to the people who will be watching you on Sunday?
Don't expect too much for the first game. But know that I will try my best to help the team win. And that I am on the way back.




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