Source: 10 Connects
A downstairs room at his Hudson home is a bit of a shrine. And his favorite player, Mike Alstott, has even sent him an autographed ball and some game tickets.
"I just think he's a really good player and I've just liked him a lot," Saunders says of the A-Train.
But right up there with football, Saunders loves to fish. The 11-year-old has all sorts of photos featuring big fish and big smiles. And Saunders even has his own little boat.
But for Saunders, boating is also tied to tragedy. Three years ago he lost his leg in a speed-boating accident.
"We were starting to go fast. We hit a rock. I had a towel rapped around my leg. It sucked it right into the motor and it cut my leg off," says the 5th grader matter-of-factly.
But just like when he has a big fish on the line, Saunders didn't give up. He worked hard at rehab and now he does most everything he used to sporting a sporty artificial leg.
"I just think it looks pretty cool," says Saunders of the Buccaneer inspired pirate design.
And then there's Saunders' positive attitude; his first request upon leaving the hospital-another boat trip. "I just think it's important to go after your goals and try to do everything that you love and stuff," says Saunders.
Brandon's injury and attitude gives him something in common with Winter, a tailless dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. "I think she's a really good inspiration to people," says Saunders, a frequent visitor.
And at the aquarium on Wednesday, Saunders got a tank-full of fun. He got to play with Winter and meet his football hero Mike Alstott.
"I'm honored to meet Brandon and be able to hang out with him," says the former Buccaneer. "He's just a very special kid."
And to top it off, this trio made a wet and wild Super Bowl prediction. Alstott and Saunders threw out marked footballs and Winter made a splash with Steelers fans by retrieving and returning that ball to her trainer.
As for Saunders, this was one super day, "really awesome and cool." It's one he'd remember even without the new autograph on his leg. "Mike Alstott signed it for me."