Two student athletes – Nick Anderson (Daniel Hand) and Colleen Rice (Jonathan Law) – are the recipients of the Southern Connecticut Conference’s 2017 “Comeback Player of the Year” awards. Both students suffered severe injuries, yet were able to overcome them to become outstanding role models in their respective schools. A corporate sponsor of the Southern Connecticut Conference (SCC), Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists P.C. (COS) has offered a Comeback Player of the Year Scholarship for student-athletes who participated in an interscholastic sport during the 2016-2017 academic year and showed great leadership both on and off the field after their severe injury.
Coaches and school’s athletic directors nominated these student-athletes after they each suffered an unfortunate injury that prohibited them from play for their high school teams. Both will receive a financial scholarship to be used for their college education.
“This is our seventh year in awarding student-athletes from the SCC with scholarships,” explained Glenn Elia, Chief Executive Officer of COS. “Our goal has been to acknowledge student-athletes who have overcome the challenges of an injury and, through hard work and determination, have become positive role models for their fellow teammates. Because so many of our doctors are focused on sports medicine, we understand intimately what it takes to recover from an injury and return to playing sports at a high level.”
“Many thanks to the doctors and staff at Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists for their support of the SCC and these scholarships,” explained SCC Commissioner Al Carbone. “Our league has many outstanding student-athletes who excel in the classroom and on the playing fields; but it is a tremendous gesture to recognize traits like courage, perseverance and selflessness.”
2016-17 SCC/Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists Comeback Players of the Year
NICK ANDERSON, Daniel Hand (football)
Since the 8th grade, Nick 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 football squad.
In his senior season in the fall of 2016, Nick played all ten of his football games healthy, and was a key contributor to the Tigers’ offense and defensive units.
Recently-retired Daniel Hand head football coach Steve Filippone said, “Nick has a heart of a tiger. 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.”
Nick will attend the University of Connecticut with plans to major in finance in the fall.
COLLEEN RICE – Jonathan Law (soccer)
Colleen sustained a torn left ACL in the summer of 2015 which resulted in her missing the entire fall season. Through her diligent rehabilitation, and her hard work and positive support of her teammates, Colleen was elected captain for the 2016 season. Colleen’s comeback to the playing field was indeed impressive; she 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.
Jonathan Law head girls soccer coach JD Rhode said, “Colleen has been one of the most versatile and hard-working players in our soccer program. 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, actually earned an internship at Star Physical Therapy (part of the COS group) as part of her Capstone project for her senior year.