Name: Ben Anderson
School: St. Charles East, junior
Why he was selected: Anderson thought his senior season would be cut short two weeks ago following an initial doctor diagnosis regarding a hematoma. After another opinion and a surgical procedure, Anderson returned to practice on Jan. 31 before eventually winning the 120-pound regional title by pinning Glenbard East's Reese Martin in the third period.
Anderson caught up with Chronicle sports reporter Jacob Bartelson about his regional win, look ahead to sectionals and more. Below is an edited transcript.
Bartelson: How long was the hematoma surgery, and what was recovery like?
Anderson: The surgery was probably a little over an hour. I had it [two weeks ago], and probably up until Monday [last week] I was in a good amount of pain. During practice, if I got hit, it would hurt, but it felt a lot better when they took the packing out.
Bartelson: Were you surprised you were able to come back, or once the surgery happened, you kinda knew it would happen?
Anderson: [Last Monday], I was still kinda iffy. It was the third doctor I went to that told me I could come back, once he told me that, I was pretty sure sure I'd be able to come back.
Bartelson: Looking ahead to the sectional, are you still planning on wearing the protective mask?
Anderson: Maybe the first day, but definitely not the second day. If it gets hit hard enough again, it's gonna build back up and I'd have to get it drained again.
Bartelson: How did the hematoma happen?
Anderson: My nose has been hurting pretty much the entire season. I just kept getting hit, but that Monday in the beginning of practice, I got hit pretty hard. I was in a ton of pain. My head was hurting, [and] my face was hurting. After that practice, I went to the doctor and they said, 'Yeah, you may have a hematoma.'"
Bartelson: For your third sectional coming up, is there anything you've stocked away in the back of your mind now that you have this experience under your belt?
Anderson: Freshman year, I went into sectionals and I had a pretty loaded bracket thinking 'There's no way I'm getting out.' But, I got to the blood round and still didn't really have confidence in myself and ended up losing. It taught me you need to have confidence in yourself if you want to win.