Rizzo's words helped keep 'Henry Strong'

First baseman welcomes fan in dugout following his recovery from school attack

Rizzo's words helped keep 'Henry Strong'

CHICAGO -- When Anthony Rizzo reached out in February to Henry Sembdner, the young boy was in a coma after being assaulted in school. On Saturday, Rizzo and Sembdner, now 13, got to meet in the Cubs' dugout.

"He's a pretty amazing guy," Sembdner said of Rizzo.

Sembdner was attacked after he bumped into another student in the hall of Kenyon Woods Middle School in South Elgin, Ill., in February. He was placed in a medically induced coma after sustaining head injuries and facial fractures. Rizzo heard about the incident and reached out on Twitter, posting, "Heard you are a big @Cubs fan Henry. When you are better I have a couple tickets and BP passes waiting for you at Wrigley. #StayStrong"

The school found out, and everyone wore Cubs gear to show support. Rizzo followed up on Twitter with a post on Feb. 6: "Heard Henry's school will be wearing @Cubs gear tom to show their support Wear ur gear & I'll RT pics. Let's all show our support #StayStrong"

On Saturday, Sembdner was accompanied by his parents, Henry and Karen, and his two sisters.

Anthony Rizzo reached out to Henry Sembdner via Twitter when the 13-year-old was in a coma after an assault at school.Carrie Muskat/MLB.com

"At the time Anthony tweeted, [Henry] was still in a coma and that support was huge," dad Henry said. "It meant a lot."

The family heard from schools in Canada and Scotland that were showing support for the youth.

"We were able to say, 'Look at this, this is incredible,'" Karen Sembdner said. "This incredible person who is known worldwide reached out to us, and he's such an inspiration for everyone, and not just kids."

When Henry finally got to go home, they made sure Rizzo knew via Twitter: "@ARizzo44 #HENRYSTRONG You heard it here first ... Henry is Home!"

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.