A new version of lacrosse? – Wheelchair Lacrosse

There are many possibilities and versions to play lacrosse, as you know. There is Field Lacrosse, Box Lacrosse, Beach Lacrosse and so on. But did you ever hear anything about wheelchair lacrosse? Can you imagine how it is to play lacrosse in a wheelchair? We did not first. But this people have proven that it works. You should not give up your dreams on the basis of disability.
Grow The Game!

A new version of lacrosse - Wheelchair LacrosseRyan Baker

Ryan was a passenger during a car accident when he was 19 years old. After this he was paraplegic. It happened in 1991 in Colorado. He grew up in San Diego. Contact with the sport Lacrosse had Ryan actually only through the stories of his deceased grandfather. He told him about the Native Americans, who were endowed with the Creator’s Game. After his accident he played a lot of tennis and also participated in various wheelchair races, but he had no contact to lacrosse, till a friend gave him a glimpse of the game lacrosse and he was immediately absolutely fascinated.

Bill Lundstrom

In 2002 Bill was hit by a car, while he and a friend were sitting on a motorcycle. After that he was injured. In 2008, Bill and Ryan met for the first time. Both were interested in exercising a team sport, but the current offer was not enough for them.

Birth of Lacrosse on Wheels

In 2009 Ryan Baker and Bill Lundstrom came the idea of Wheelchair Lacrosse USA (WLUSA) during skiing. So they decided to teach this sport in America. The matter was unfortunately easier said than done. Baker has experience as a competitive wheelchair tennis player, but has never played lacrosse before his injury. They had also not really a lot of money and in addition also no time, since they were working in a full-time job. These were reasons, but no obstacles for them.
First, the duo turned to researching whether there was already something existing in this direction, in which they would be able to connect, but there was nothing. Throughout America no one had heard of wheelchair lacrosse. There was no organization, no players and no rules. That was an advantage for Baker and Lundstrom. Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in America and thus won more and more followers. Baker and Lundstrom would now turn to the new followers. They informed themselves about the complete sport, which rules there are, what equipment is needed and so on.
Then they wanted to hold camps across the country. They discovered suitable venues, such as a roller skating rink or indoor arena and then taught, with mostly donated equipment, the sport. After the camps, all competitors were all familiar with the rules and had a place to play and even a team to play in.
For the last 6 years there were camps in San Diego, Denver, Atlanta, Tampa, Richmond, Baltimore and New York City now. Paralyzed players, who have become aware of this sport, were fire and flame. They really missed playing lacrosse and are fascinated how the rules, the field and the action match the memories. Baker sees the whole thing as the beginning. The WLUSA was born.

What are the Future Plans for Wheelchair Lacrosse?

They want to make the sport big, with regional tournaments and national championships, some tournaments currently take place. The ultimate climax of Baker and Lundstrom would be, that they make it to a Paralympic event.  By the other lacrosse players in the United States, they are accepted and respected for a long time now. The journey of Baker and Lundstrom shall go on.

WLUSA Camps

The idea of the Camp is that every participant starts at the same level so that beginners are able to get to know lacrosse and lear how to play it. Cities and various programs can expand their existing leisure facilities. It is always said, lacrosse is the fastest sport on two feet. So WLUSA is therefore the fastest sport on two wheels. In such a camp you will deal with the lacrosse history, equipment, rules and sanctions. Parts of it are different from lacrosse like tactics and strategies, as well as extensive passing and catching drills. Prior to the conclusion of the camp, the players get into a full blown scrimmage and show all the skills they learned over the weekend. The WLUSA supports each group with the requirements for a camp, in finding a suitable place, in the provision of equipment for up to 20 players, coaching and tricots. All camps are free for all participants. At the conclusion of the camp WLUSA will donate lacrosse Equipment to the host program to help giving it a start with immediate needs.

Are the rules different?

Yes they are. However, not enormous. An attempt was made to only adapt the rules for people with disabilities. The location is mostly a roller hockey court or Box Lacrosse Pad. Here is a little summary of the wheelchair lacrosse rules for you: Each team consists of 8 players. The sticks have a length of 40 – 42 inches and in every team can also two players with long sticks, which have a length between 47 and 50 inches. Every player has to wear protective equipment. The wheelchair is also the subject of some rules, which refer to the height of the seat and so on. Moreover belts have to be fitted on the wheelchair, so nothing happens during a collision and also nobody falls out of the wheelchair. If you are interested how the rules have changed, you can look it up in the official rulebook of WLUSA.

Here you can watch some game time excerpts in the perspective of a GoPro and decide what you think about it.

Daniel Hersh

He was injured on 13th February 2005, because he had a motocross accident and is paralyzed since that. In the accident he broke his hand, wrist, ribs and shoulder. After the hospital residence Daniel went to a rehab. After that he tried different sports like Basketball, sledge hockey or cycling with his hands. In 2011, he got to know wheelchair lacrosse. He even organized an event in Colorado. This camp motivated him so much, that he originated a program in Colorado with only a handful of people. Since that, he has created awareness about the team and grown to the point where they have been able to join up with the Colorado Mammoth of the NLL. Now they call themselves the Rolling Mammoth and set a good example, as the first WLUSA program that cooperates with a NLL team. Hersh has earned the head coaching position of the men’s lacrosse team of the University of Northern Colorado. Before he has traveled as a WLUSA member to several events including the USL National Convention, WLUSA camps and to Whitby, Onation, Canada for exhibition games and camp instruction during the FIL Women’s World Cup.

We hope we were able to give you an understanding of wheelchair lacrosse with this post. We feel confident that this is a smasher. And something that really needs our support.  Here you’ll find the official facebook page and the official site of WLUSA.

GROW THE GAME!

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