2008: Three National Stories Worth an Extra Look

As we prepare our look at the top CNY lacrosse stories of 2008, we offer these three from the national scene for your consideration.

Our first choice concerns two young men playing the game they love one moment, and fighting for their lives the next. In their respective games, Fletcher High goalie James Hendrick (Jacksonville, FL) and Cardinal Gibbons High defenseman Alex Beuris (Raleigh, NC) were both hit in the chest by the lacrosse ball which, when it occurs during a precise moment of the heartís cycle, leads to sudden cardiac arrest. The condition, called Commotio cordis, is a very rare but potentially catastrophic phenomenon.

The three doctors and four nurses that came from the stands to help Alex needed three shocks from the school's sideline Automated External Defibrillator (AED), to restart his heart. James was fortunate that his coach, certified EMT Josh Covelli, was the first to reach him. He recognized the problem and immediately called 911 and began CPR. Fletcher High's AED, however, was in the locker room, and by the time it had been retrieved and hooked up, paramedics were on the scene with more advanced equipment which was used to shock his heart back into a normal rhythm.

There is no piece of lacrosse equipment more important than an Automated External Defibrillator. At the invitation of US Lacrosse, James Hendrick and his coach appeared in a Public Service Announcement to help educate the public about AED's. For more information on AED's, visit the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation website. Many states have enacted laws concerning the availability of AED's at sporting events and other public gatherings. To learn if your state has addressed the issue, and to research funding possibilities for your school or club, check this website from the National Association of State Legislatures.

Make sure there is an AED on your sideline.

In March the Rocky Mountain News reported that the Colorado Mammoth were out-averaging both the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche in attendance. Both good and bad news for Kroenke Sports, owners of all three franchises and their home, the Pepsi Center. Is this a comment on the state of the traditional professional sports in the Rockie Mountains? We don't think so. Not when you consider the Mammoth's 17,400 average was more than 3,000 better than second-place Buffalo, nearly 6,000 greater than fifth-place Philadelphia, and that the Chicago franchise has shut down for 2009.

The success of lacrosse in Colorado is a plus for the game at all levels, and a great gateway for the spread of its popularity west of the Mississippi.

The final STX/IL National Boys High School Lacrosse Rankings released by Inside Lacrosse in June found Brother Rice of Michigan at the top, much to the consternation of the traditional power centers up and down the east coast, especially considering that LaxPower's National Coaches/Computer Ratings had Brother Rice at #15. There is no doubt that Brother Rice has long been the program to be reckoned with in Michigan, and the source of many fine college players at all levels. An undefeated season is a major achievement, and very hard to accomplish. Ask any Maryland, Long Island, or Upstate New York team. The competition is fierce.

Whether or not the time has come, most certainly the spread of quality lacrosse westward will continue, bringing new programs to dominate their regions and challange the traditional power centers back East.

In the coming days watch for our look back at twenty stories we think helped define central New York lacrosse in 2008.