Nick Anderson of Hand and Colleen Rice of Law have been named the Southern Connecticut Conference’s “Comeback Players of the Year,” the league announced Thursday.
The winners, who have both overcome debilitating injuries in their high school careers, receive scholarships from award sponsor Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists.
NICK ANDERSON, Daniel Hand (football)
Since he was in eighth grade, Anderson has undergone four surgeries: on his left shoulder twice, and once each on his groin and right hip. Each time, he worked hard in his rehabilitation to get back on the playing field for the Tigers.
In the fall of 2016, his senior year, Anderson played in all 10 games and was a key contributor to the Tigers’ offense and defensive units.
“Nick has a heart of a tiger,” said Steve Filippine, the former Hand coach who retired after last season. “Not only did he come back stronger, he became mentally tough and even more committed to being the best football player he could be. Nick became an inspiration for the other boys on the team who had suffered injuries or difficult circumstances.”
Anderson will attend the University of Connecticut in the fall with plans to major in finance.
COLLEEN RICE, Jonathan Law (soccer)
Colleen sustained a torn left ACL in the summer of 2015 which resulted in her missing the entire soccer season.
Through her rehabilitation, Colleen was elected captain by her teammates for the 2016 season. Rice returned that yer and was the team’s defensive leader and a key part of the Eagles’ ascension to the state tournament and the program’s second-best season in school history. For her efforts, she was also awarded the team’s Sportsmanship Award as voted by her teammates and coaches.
“Colleen has been one of the most versatile and hard-working players in our soccer program,” Law girls soccer coach JD Rhode said. “She is a role model for our younger student-athletes and she exhibited perseverance and grit throughout her injury and rehabilitation.”
Colleen, who will attend the University of Tampa and pursue a degree in physical therapy, earned an internship at Star Physical Therapy (part of the Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists group) as part of her Capstone project for her senior year.