Grand Rapids Football’s Andy Thomsen Facing Adversity Head On

Andy Thomsen should be one of the top senior football players in Minnesota this fall. He was to play quarterback and linebacker for Grand Rapids and signed up to play Division I college football at North Dakota State University. In August, however, Andy suffered an unexpected spinal injury that forced him to quit the sport he loved and had invested so much time in.

As he was recovering from a successful operation to stabilize a couple of broken upper back vertebrae, Andy appeared at all of his team’s trainings and games throughout the season. Being there with your team during the season was both difficult and helpful. With Andy still leading the team from the sidelines, the Thunderhawks reached their first state tournament in 15 years.

Andy was able to rely on his grandfather Tom Drazenovich all his life, who also suffered an injury at the end of his career at a young age. Drazenovich, better known as “Tommy D” in Grand Rapids, was a Thunderhawk teacher and trainer for over 30 years, making connections with hundreds of student athletes, but one of his closest connections was of course his grandson.

Andy’s future is a little more uncertain than it was three months ago. Although the North Dakota State University coaching team could not play football again because of an increased risk of paralysis, they decided to honor the scholarship offered to Andy. No matter what he does in life, Andy will always have a special bond with his grandfather, Tommy D.

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