For 8-year-old Ian, getting inside a machine to have his body composition measured was an exciting moment. Not scary at all for a kid who has already beat brain cancer.
He was in the Human Energy Research Lab at Michigan State University on Monday to get tested “just like the hockey guys.”
He knows all the Spartan hockey players, Coach Tom Anastos and the athletic trainers. Over five years ago, when he was fresh off his cancer treatments, they invited him to become part of the team.
“This is the one piece he hasn’t been part of,” said Kinesiology Professor Jim Pivarnik, who invited Ian and his family to come to his lab after meeting them. “I wanted to give him this opportunity.”
With brother Easton, 12, and sister Greer, 10, Ian also had his height and weight measured and got on the treadmill to check heart rate and energy use.
Dave Carrier, head athletic trainer for Spartan ice hockey and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology, was there to enjoy the visit with Ian. On home game days, the two of them are often side-by-side, taping up athletes and giving high-fives.
“He has embraced this whole experience,” said Carrier, who’s affectionately known as Ace. “It has brought out his personality, to be a part of all this and not be shy.”
Doctors say that Ian’s cancer could return at any time until age 17. Mom Gina Anderson says everyone at MSU has made Ian feel like a true part of the team.
Although the family lives in the Bay City area, they are on campus often. Gina drops off Ian at Munn Ice Arena, where the hockey team practices and plays games.
“I’m comfortable with that because I know he’s with family,” she said. “We will be forever grateful for MSU.”