Theodore Roosevelt High School senior Ryan Anderson was named today as Fan Favorite of the third annual Inspireum Football Awards – just two days after being named Sports Illustrated High School Student of the Week.
Inspireum spokesperson Kristin Hansen said Ryan has inspired his teammates and community since he was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer last April.
"The brave young man continues to act as captain and student coach to his team. The Inspireum Football Awards honor high school football players around the country who dedicate themselves to upholding the values of character, courage, contribution, and commitment," Hansen said.
The Inspireum Football Awards celebrate outstanding young athletes – not because of their statistical performance, but because of their ability to inspire and motivate teammates, classmates and communities.
Ryan – who was nominated for the award by Roosevelt Coach John Nemec – will receive a $1,500 scholarship for being chosen as the Inspireum Fan Favorite through online voting.
The following information was provided by Inspireum Football Awards:
Anderson was a top offensive line recruit in Ohio prior to April 2011, with big universities such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Michigan State offering scholarships.
He was at track practice that spring when his knee began to ache. He went in to have his knee checked out, and it was then that doctors revealed the worst. An MRI showed a sizable tumor in Ryan’s knee, and the tumor was cancerous.
Ryan was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. It was at that moment that Ryan decided, “Football’s not an option.”
Though football had to be set aside in favor of treatments such as chemotherapy, Ryan remained a pillar of strength and inspiration to his team. They voted him team captain, though they knew he could never join them on the field of play in the dominating ways he had previously.
Ryan, and the entire community, knew the risks if he wasn’t put into treatment immediately.
Another student at Kent Roosevelt, Benny Cowgill, had been diagnosed with, and succumbed to, osteogenic sarcoma years earlier. During his fifth-grade year, Ryan actually won an award commemorating Benny’s battle with cancer – a strange twist intertwining the two in inexplicable ways.
But Ryan has no plans to lose his battle with cancer. In fact, it was recently announced that he is in remission and will be attending school again full-time this semester.
Last year, Ryan was invited to participate in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl, a showcase that highlights some of the best high school football players across the nation. Though Ryan could not play, he attended the game as a guest of honor; a great way for him to cap a year in which he served as an inspiration to many.