Amputee athlete who thought she'd never play lacrosse again scores a goal in her first game back


When Noelle Lambert got into a moped accident in the summer of 2016 that resulted in her losing a leg, the promising college athlete wasn’t thinking about whether she’d walk again (because she knew she would) — instead, she was focused on when she’d get back on the lacrosse field. Now, nearly two years later, the student’s not not just playing, she’s scoring goals.

On Saturday, the 21-year-old arrived to University of Massachusetts’s game against University of Hartford prepared to play, although she had no expectations of actually being put on the field. However, when her coach called her off of the bench, the junior was surprised, but clearly ready to stage a comeback because she scored.


The moment was followed by a big team celebration — something that Lambert never imagined she’d be at the center of again.


“I never thought I would score a goal again,” Lambert told WMUR News. “Just having my teammates there, their celebration just really hyped me up, and I broke down in tears — which, it’s the first time in a while. I don’t think they’ve seen me cry in a while.”

But it’s no surprise that the team was so excited, as they’ve been so inspired by their teammate’s difficult journey.


“When people are down in the dumps or maybe the team is having a bad day, being able to look at Noelle I think just kind of gives everyone something to play for,” teammate Kelly Moran told the publication. 

Moran was actually on the trip to Martha’s Vineyard with Lambert when the accident took place. In October, Lambert told her story to Teen Vogue, where she chronicled the emotional and physical trauma that resulted from her first moped ride that turned into a life-altering ordeal. Recalling the July 2016 accident, Lambert shared what she remembered after being thrown into a dump truck, and being rushed to the hospital. Having to get the rest of her left leg amputated at the Boston Medical Center, Lambert says that her then-19-year-old self was thinking about lacrosse the entire time, even asking her coach Carissa Medeiros, “Am I still on the team?”

Just nine months after the accident took place, Lambert got a running prothesis and began simple training. From a quarter mile walk, to a 100 yard dash, the athlete soon started to feel like herself again, and told her trainers, coaches, and teammates that she was ready to take part in fitness testing, and wanted no mercy.

As Lambert gears up for more competition, she continues to recognize the support and inspiration she’s gained from Boston Marathon bombing survivor Heather Abbot, whose foundation donated a prothesis to Lambert. From Abbot, the student athlete has gained motivation to someday create a foundation herself, with no plans to exit the lacrosse field in the near-future.

“I just don’t want to be done with this sport,” Lambert said. “I’m not done. I don’t want to be.”

 

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