Stronger Together

The lacrosse community came together in a big way this past weekend when one of its own went down. We all were hoping and praying that Jackson Place was okay.

Every athlete has unfortunately experienced seeing someone get injured during a game or competition. It is a risk we all take to play the games we enjoy. When you are younger the injuries usually aren’t that serious and the player could usually walk off the field as everyone claps. However, in a sport like lacrosse sometimes the nature of the game can create scary injuries like the one that had the lacrosse community holding its breath this past weekend.

The first game of the PLL playoffs between the Redwoods and Archers was one of the most exciting games of the summer. With a spot to move on toward the first ever PLL Championship on the line, players were selling out all over the field. Tom Schreiber, the Archers’ best player, left the game after the 1st Quarter with a shoulder injury opening up the game for the Redwoods a bit and forcing the Archers to make adjustments. The game was full of back and forth play with fast breaks, beautiful offense, big saves, and even back to back 2 point goals in the 3rd Quarter.

As I watched the NBC Sports Network broadcast, I could feel the intense energy through the screen as the Archers attempted to tie the game back up in the 4th Quarter. It felt like the game still had a dramatic ending in store, but something beyond the game of lacrosse brought it to a halt.

After a broken play in transition, the Archers’ Jackson Place had his stick knocked out of his hands and he angrily ran by the Redwoods’ Eddy Glazener to retrieve it. Place awkwardly collided head first into Glazener’s shoulder and went limp as he fell to the ground. Glazener put his hands up as he showed his confusion to what just happened and hoped that the referees wouldn’t throw a flag at this crucial moment of the game. Place laid on the ground as his heavy breathing moved his chest up and down.

The replay of the play hurt to watch. I could feel my stomach twist. I’d rather not include the video of it here, but you can find it on Twitter if you really want to see what happened.

Place might not be a name lacrosse fans recognize alongside the many stars in the PLL, but he has earned his spot through his intense style of play he brought from Bucknell to now. Place was a part of the “Faceless Men” group of defensemen that won the MLL Championship in 2017 with the Ohio Machine. He quietly, but effectively has been playing his competitive style as the Archers made their way to the playoffs.

As the PLL medical team worked on Place, you could see the concern for him on the players’ and coaches’ faces. They might all be opponents, but the lacrosse family is bigger than any one team or a playoff game.

I felt emotional just watching everything unfold on TV, but seeing Glazener’s emotions change from confusion of what happened to realizing that he was part of the reason for Place laying motionless on the ground was heart wrenching. Glazener didn’t do anything wrong, but it must have felt like he did and was responsible in some way. Seeing his teammates comfort him as well as Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent embrace Glazener was amazing to see.

What took maybe 15 or 20 minutes in real time seemed like an eternity as the medical team was able to get Place on a backboard and move him off the field to go to the hospital.

The Archers and Redwoods players finished the game as the Redwoods advanced to the next round of the playoffs, but I know everyone there and who was watching could only think of Jackson Place. The lacrosse community poured out endless posts on Twitter and Instagram praying for Place and hoping that good news would be heard soon. When someone gets injured like that in the lacrosse community, it doesn’t matter what your affiliation is: field or box, men’s or women’s, or MLL or PLL. It doesn’t make a difference when it comes to supporting a fellow lacrosse player.

After Place was taken away, Glazener actually went back into the game with tears surely still in his eyes. Kudos to Nat St. Laurent for letting him go back out. I can only imagine that playing through those emotions was important for Glazener as well as all of the players.

We are all brothers and sisters united by this game and it was incredible to see everyone come together to support Jackson Place. The lacrosse community could breath a sigh of relief when Place made his own post letting us know that everything was alright.

We hope to see you back out on the field soon Jackson.

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