Andria Spring discovered the cosmos had a sense of humor when she busted her nose while playing soccer and found out it would require surgery. 

She was about halfway through high school and already she had torn her anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. Also, she had torn the meniscus in both knees. She then sprained her ACL and damaged her meniscus again before once again tearing her ACL. 

In all she's had four surgeries on her knees just while in high school. Following her broken-nose surgery, she came down with mononucleosis. 

"I know, right?" she said, laughing.

Spring is an avid runner and soccer player. Or would be. Because of her injuries she'd never been able to complete a season of soccer, track or cross country until her senior year.

She finished the track season this year on a high, running a personal best of 1:05.32 in the 400 meters and 2:39.75 in the 800 meters.

Spring acknowledges that it's been difficult year after year to diligently train for something only to have it disappear because of injury. 

"It's working really hard to do something and then having it all taken away," she said. 

To her credit, she's never once used her injuries as an excuse to stop trying. 

"Andria turned each and every negative experience into a positive one," wrote her counselor, Kimberly Petersen, in a letter of recommendation. 

Petersen points out that when Spring first tore her ACL, which kept her from playing soccer, she ran cross-country instead.

When she tore it again the next year, this time requiring surgery, Spring asked if she could stick around and help the team. They made her a student coach. 

"This not only helped the coaching staff and players but it helped Andria as well," Petersen wrote. "She learned that she has a talent for working with others and now hopes to pursue a career that includes this skill set."

Spring describes her family as one steeped in sports culture. They're all active and get a lot of pleasure from competing. During the winter, Spring skis and during the summer she works as a river rafting guide. 

The repeated injuries throughout high school has helped Spring see life with a little different perspective. 

"There's a lot more to life than just sports," she said with a laugh. "Sometimes that gets lost in high school."

Her injuries, and the chance it gave her to be a student coach and work with others, completely changed her perception of sports in particular and life in general. 

"It's not about me and I can help others," she said. 

As Spring prepares to graduate this weekend, she knows she'll miss the tight-knit community of friends and peers unique to high school that form over the course of four years.

But she's also excited for what lies ahead. Spring will attend the University of Montana this fall as a premed student in the honor school.

"She's super bight and engaging," Petersen said. It doesn't matter where Spring goes or what she ends up doing, she'll be successful.

"She's always had such an amazingly positive attitude," Petersen said. 


Education reporter for the Billings Gazette in Montana. Rob covers Billings School District 2 and the smaller districts in the surrounding area.

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