Wayne and Annetta Andersen and all the Andersen kids were excited for last week - the week of the 3A basketball playoff games in the Marriott Center. Kevin Andersen, one of Mountain Crest High School's top athletes, would be playing.
The Mendon, Cache County, family decided to make a weeklong vacation of it to support Mountain Crest.Little did the Andersens know that it would be many other teams, in addition to Mountain Crest, giving them the support.
"Professionals say it is luck; we say it isn't luck, but a miracle," Wayne Andersen said.
Kevin Andersen fractured two vertebrae during the final play of the third quarter Thursday afternoon. He went up for the ball during an inbounds play and was undercut by another player.
Michael L. Folsom, the on-duty student athletic trainer, said Kevin had landed face down. No one thought it was a serious injury because Andersen was moving his legs.
Folsom determined that Kevin would be staying nose-to-floor until he could be braced. "I didn't feel pressure (from the crowd), because I made my decision after the tests. When I knew it was a neck injury, the decision was made."
Mrs. Andersen said it was scary to see her son lying there like that, especially with people shouting, "Get on with the game." But she is grateful for Folsom's training. "We think he saved his (Kevin's) life."
Preliminary X-rays showed that Mrs. Andersen was right.
"If Kevin's neck had been moved one-half inch, there would have been two options," Mr. Andersen said. "He would have been quadriplegic or dead. It would have severed his spinal cord."
After being stabilized, Kevin was operated on Sunday by Dr. Lynn Gaufin to have the vertebrae fused. He was in satisfactory condition Monday, and the miracle, according to his parents, is that Kevin was walking.
"Kevin is the kind of kid who will do what he has to do to get better," his mother said. "And he'll get better," added his father.
"We didn't win the game Thursday night, but Kevin won the game he needed to," Mr. Andersen said.
Kevin should be released from the hospital in five days but will wear a neck brace for three months.
"After that he can do anything but play a football game," Mr. Andersen said.