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FUEL


INSPIRATION


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I grew up on the water on the Jersey shore and sailed with my brothers and cousins. As I went through college and got into lacrosse, sailing took a back seat until my accident. I was going through rehabilitation at the Rehab Institute of


Chicago. They had an opportunity to get out on a boat. I looked at it and I was with the physical therapist. I was like, ‘There’s no way you can get someone out of a wheelchair on the boat.” She dared me. I said, “Don’t dare me. I’ll do it just to prove you wrong.” As soon as I got on the boat, I realized what a freeing, emotional moment it was. Off I went.


They introduced sailing in Atlanta in 1996 and we eventually won the U.S. trials in 2008 and competed in Beijing. We won the trials again last year and headed to Rio.


LIFE AFTER LAX


‘HEY, I PLAY LACROSSE TOO’


Rick Doerr is a man of many talents. He’s a plastic and reconstructive surgeon by trade, but doubles as a U.S. Paralympic sailing medalist. Still, he fi nds time to volunteer in the sport he grew up playing and still loves — lacrosse.


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I started playing in New Jersey in the 1970s. One of the preeminent programs was in the town where I went to school, Montclair. I remember driving home and seeing the high school team play. The school that I went to was a private school and they were starting up a team. By my senior year, I was all-state.


18 US LACROSSE MAGAZINE April 2017


Doerr, who had his lacrosse career ended by a car crash in 1992 that left him a paraplegic, picked up sailing, another childhood sport. After years of working the U.S. Paralympic team, Doerr qualifi ed for the 2016 Rio


Paralympic sailing medalist Rick Doerr keeps his first love close BY MATT HAMILTON


Paralympic Games and won the silver medal in the Three- Person Keelboat event. He’s lived an accomplished life, but continues gives back to lacrosse as a volunteer coach for Bergen Catholic (N.J.).


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While I was at New England College in New Hampshire, I noticed that in the springtime during lacrosse, I always did better on my grade point average. It made you focus a lot more. I played during graduate school with the University of Colorado, the club team. Once my eligibility was over, I started to play with the Denver lacrosse club. Shortly after, I applied to medical school in Chicago. Once I got there, I found some lacrosse players. Lacrosse players seem to seek themselves out. If you have a lacrosse stick in your hand and you start playing, you hear, “Hey, I play lacrosse, too.”


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All the guys from the Chicago lacrosse club came to my hospital and my aid. My apartment needed to be moved out and my teammates took my furniture. They helped me fi nd an apartment in Chicago. They helped my wife. To this day, whenever I go to Chicago, the fi rst call I make is to the guys.


USlacrosse.org


©US SAILING


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