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Mark Krenz

The Unlimited Edition: USA Lacrosse Series on Athletes with Disabilities

March 29, 2023
USA Lacrosse Magazine Staff
Collin Nawrocki

Lacrosse is for everyone. Everywhere. Of all abilities.

I’ve had the privilege of working at USA Lacrosse for 18 years, the last 12 as editor of this magazine. It’s editions like these that keep me going.

Since 1978, USA Lacrosse Magazine has inspired generations of lacrosse families to love this great game and leave it better for the next. We harness the power of storytelling to help fuel the sport’s growth and enrich the experience of participants.

That’s our editorial mission statement. Our guiding light. The most rewarding work occurs when lacrosse acts as the prism through which we can illuminate the human condition and learn about the world around us.

In this magazine, you’ll read about elite athletes who play sports in wheelchairs and have lost limbs, who have disabilities like spina bifida and cerebral palsy, who are deaf or have diabetes.

You’ll notice we don’t use words like “inspire” (our editorial mission statement notwithstanding) or “overcome” in these stories. That’s intentional. A common thread that came up in our reporting — with kudos to writers Matt Hamilton, Beth Ann Mayer, Justin Feil, Emma Healy, Nelson Rice and Paul Ohanian for their compelling prose — was these athletes don’t see themselves as exceptional. They’re lacrosse players like the rest of us, embracing the grind and working tirelessly on their craft.

I owe a special thanks to Shawn Maloney for his stewardship with this edition. He’s our regional manager for the Mountain Region and a member of the Editorial Advisory Group. He’s also an advocate for adaptive and wheelchair lacrosse, a passion he developed after suffering a spinal cord injury while hiking in northern California (see page 40).

Shawn rightly steered us away from calling this the Inspiration Edition. He shared a Ted Talk by Stella Young, an Australian comedian and journalist who uses a wheelchair — which she says is nothing noble. Young hilariously pans our habit of objectifying disabled people as inspirational.

It must be exhausting covering people’s blind spots. Shawn has saved my hide on several occasions, yet always does so with a smile and without judgment. Love that guy.

I’ll end this column with the same words that start the special 24-page feature package.

Lacrosse is for everyone. Everywhere. Of all abilities.

Let the Unlimited Edition serve as a reminder of the power of inclusion.

— Matt DaSilva, Editor in Chief


Keep Pushing Forward

Mark Krenz • Milwaukee Eagles

Mark Krenz is a lacrosse sensation for the Milwauke Eagles, a wheelchair lacrosse team with national championship hopes every season. Krenz trains like it. Krenz is the type of athlete who after hours of wheelchair lacrosse training at Marquette Gymnasium stuns his teammates by climbing a military-style rope while attached to his chair. An all-out competitor, Krenz also shares a special kinship with Aaron Latawiec, who has Down syndrome, after Krenz saved him from a bus wreck when they were in grade school. Matt Hamilton tells his story.




Tuned In

Alana Epstein • Furman

Alana Epstein’s favorite sound in the world is the laughter of family and friends. She can hear it because of a decision her parents made with an assist from modern medicine. Born deaf, Epstein got her first cochlear implants shortly after her first birthday. A senior attacker at Furman, Epstein hopes to give young kids the gift of confidence. Beth Ann Mayer tells her story.



She’s Got a Way

Reagan Bischoff • Potomac Falls (Va.)

Reagan Bischoff is a 13-year-old goalie with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, dyslexia and ADHD and is changing the world one YouTube upload at a time. Bischoff said lacrosse gave her confidence, though her cerebral palsy can make daily routines difficult. She shares her discoveries on her YouTube channel, “Throw Leftie.” Justin Feil tells her story.




A Cut Above

Matt Freitas • Williams

Williams College goalie Matt Freitas says losing his right leg only made him work harder. Doctors amputated that right leg following a car accident on Jan. 4, 2013 — when he was 11 years old. That could have put an end to his lacrosse career. Instead, it pushed him to go all in. Emma Healy tells his story.



Learn. Manage. Live.

Maura Cissel • Drexel

Maura Cissel excels while playing with Type 1 diabetes — a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. The condition has never hindered her athletic pursuits, though it requires maintenance. She is one of several notables lacrosse players with Type 1 diabetes. Nelson Rice tells her story.




The Athlete Mindset

Shawn Maloney • USA Lacrosse/Colorado Rolling Mammoth

A hiking accident in April 2015 permanently damaged Shawn Maloney’s spinal cord. He leaned on lacrosse to get back on his feet again and found his calling in adaptive sports. Maloney, 29 at the time of the accident, is now USA Lacrosse’s Mountain Regional Manager helping to grow adaptive programs across the country. Paul Ohanian tells his story.