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Anderson Recovering from Injury

His first year at Doane College, Marcus Anderson's biggest challenges came as a two-sport athlete combining training and in-season activities in basketball and golf.

But that was before summer break, when he learned life can change at any moment.

On June 29, Marcus laid irrigation pipes with his 17-year old brothers, Mitchell and Ryan, on their farm near Axtell.  Several of the pipes had collected mud inside and they stood them on end to clear the debris. 

Marcus and Mitchell lifted the pipe that either hit an electric power line or came close enough to attract the electricity and nearly electrocute them.

The electrical current - about 7,700 volts - went through Marcus and Mitchell, exiting out their feet.

Marcus, knocked unconscious, has no recollection of what happened.

Mitchell remained conscious.  Ryan, who was driving the truck carrying the pipes, contacted their father, Thomas.

"From what I have been told, Mitchell pounded on my chest to try and get my heartbeat back and my dad was able to get there in time to perform CPR," Marcus said.

He did not regain consciousness until paramedics arrived to transfer him and Mitchell to Good Samaritans Hospital in Kearney.  Both brothers suffered burns on their hands and feet and needed to have skin grafts where the electricity exited.

Marcus suffered severe damage as he lost two toes on his right foot.  He was bed-ridden for two weeks after the surgery to allow the skin graft to heal properly. 

About a month after the incident, Marcus started to walk with the aid of crutches.  It wasn't until about a half a week before school started (August 30) that he was able to walk without them.

Through rehabilitation, Marcus slowly advanced.  By mid-September he could use a stationary bike and the elliptical machine.  He has been able to lift upper-body weights with the basketball team and work on dribbling and his shooting form. 

Doane men's basketball coach Ian Brown talked with Marcus about three weeks after the accident.

"It amazed me how positive he was and the fact that he was able to laugh about it," Brown said.  "I truly admire Marcus for the attitude he has possessed through this very traumatic experience." 

Recently, an orthopedic specialist created an insole to prevent Marcus' foot from sliding in his shoe and also help balance out the weight distributed on both feet.

"Through this process, the doctors never gave me a time table to when I could be back participating in any activities.  It has been frustrating at times," Marcus admitted. 

But it didn't stop him from competing.  Three months to the day that he could have lost his life, Marcus laced up his shoes, took a few practice swings and teed off in the Palace City Classic golf meet hosted by Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D.

On the first day of the meet, Marcus shot an 81, nine strokes over par.

"I hit the ball really well but I didn't have any touch around the green which is understandable since I haven't played much."

On the second day, Marcus was forced to withdraw because of soreness in his foot.  He said he did not want to push his pain threshold.

Marcus is temporary allowed to use a powered golf cart in meets by the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC).  The host of a meet must also agree to the golf cart use, which Dakota Wesleyan did, according to GPAC commissioner Corey Westra.

It's too soon to tell if an exception could be granted in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Office.  Lori Thomas, NAIA Director of Championships and Human Resources, said that in regular season meets the use of a powered cart is allowed if the coaches agree.  In postseason meets, the NAIA follows the United States Golf Association (USGA) rules, which do not allow powered carts.  However, a coach can file an appeal that will require medical documentation about the athlete's injury.  The information would then be passed to the officers of the coaches association for a vote on the use of a powered cart at the conference, regional and national meets.

Right now, Marcus focuses on the next day and the next meet.

"Mentally I felt ready to compete; it was exciting to play again.  (An accident) like this really makes you look at what you have, and you're thankful for what you have and where you are at."