MSU Hockey team helps cancer survivor

Posted at 8:26 AM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 08:36:07-04

Eight year old Ian Anderson is a Spartan.

So much so, that he got the full "hockey player test" at a Michigan State University Kinesiology lab.

It's a miracle Ian is even alive. As a toddler, doctors operated on a cancerous brain tumor the size of a grapefruit in his head.

"On the first cut he died," says Ian's mom Gina, "they brought him back to life and he's been a fighter ever since."

Every day in the hospital, Ian had on his green and white. A die hard Spartan fan, it was incredible when a charitable organization connected Ian and his family with the MSU Hockey Team.

"From day one of picking up the phone from Coach Anastos, they embraced us all," says Gina Anderson.

The rest is history.

He's been cancer free for 5 years now.

I met up with Ian, his mom, and two older siblings as they got the "Spartan Hockey Test." Players get their body composition measured and more, and because Ian is part of the team, he got the full hockey check up too.

"It's fun how I can see all the machines work," says Ian.

Ian gets full access, coming to practice, working with the players and more.

"I had a nerf gun war with the guys," he says.

He's even developed quite the friendship with the team's head trainer.

"This is Spartans at their best," says Associate Head Athletic Trainer and Head Ice Hockey Trainer Dave Carrier.

For the doctors at the lab, putting Ian through the paces is just a small way they can help.

"When I met him I knew that he would enjoy doing this," says kinesiology and epidemiology professor Dr. Jim Pivarnik Ph.D.

For this big fan, and survivor, being a part of the team for the past 5 years is everything.