Life changed forever for Lebanon senior Jordan Anderson Wednesday, May 1 on a Springfield tennis court.
"I just lost vision in my left eye. It was like a sunspot. It didn't go away for about 30 minutes and then it went from really blurry to black," Anderson said.
He was taken to a hospital and later an ophthalmologist where he was given devastating news.
"He told me I had a central retinal artery occlusion, a stroke in my eye," Anderson said. "I am blind in my left eye for life."
Anderson’s high school tennis career appeared to be over as focus shifted to the cause of the stroke and his overall health.
"After I got done at the ophthalmologist, I called coach (Ron) Crowell and told him that my season was over and it was good playing for him," Anderson said.
The Lebanon senior tried to keep things as normal as possible while doctors did tests to make sure everything was ok with Anderson’s heart and body. The support he received from his teammates and the Lebanon community provided an emotional buoy for Anderson during his tough time.
"It was nuts (the support) on social media," Anderson said. "People are supporting me. It is really hard to be sad when you have so many people backing you and caring about you."
Doctors determined that everything else was ok with Anderson, which led him to make a request of Crowell that just days before seemed little more than a pipe dream.
"He came up and said 'Coach, I want to play at districts on Friday' and I said absolutely yes. Let's do it," Crowell said.
Anderson took the court in the district singles tournament Friday morning just nine days after becoming permanently blind in his left eye.
"I didn't think he was going to play this season again," teammate Isaac Gillen said. "He told us he probably wasn't going to play tennis for the rest of summer because he couldn't see. When Coach Crowell told us that he was going to be playing I couldn't believe it. I thought he was just kidding."
The match did not go as Anderson would have liked with a straight-set loss. The adjustment to playing with just one eye so soon after losing vision proved tough.
"It is not the same and it is never going to be the same," Anderson said. "I did well for losing my eye a week ago. I lost a lot of the depth perception"
"In all my years of coaching I think it is the neatest thing I have seen for him to be able to come back after that," Crowell said. "He has been so courageous and his character has been so awesome."
That character shines through brightest by the positive attitude Anderson has adopted despite the unfortunate circumstance.
"I was really upset because there is nothing you can do about and nothing you can change," Anderson said. "I figure the quicker you get over that the quicker you get to healing."
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