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Lacrosse Star: Amputation Made Me a Better Player

Apr 10, 2023 |

We tend to believe people succeed despite their limb loss or limb difference. Matt Freitas thinks he has excelled as a college lacrosse player because of his amputation. 

Freitas, who underwent amputation of his right leg after a car accident when he was 11, is a senior captain and starting goalie on the Williams College lacrosse team. He feels those facts are related. 

“I maintain to this day that I don’t think I would play college lacrosse if I hadn’t lost my leg,” Freitas told USA Lacrosse Magazine for a story by Emma Healy. “Not that I don’t love the sport. I just frankly don’t think I would have been good enough, because I never would have had the work ethic to start lifting, start playing more competitively, try and make a club team, or try and compete against the best.” 

Even Williams coach George McCormack considered Freitas’ prosthetic leg a plus when he recruited the goalie for his team. McCormack recounted watching Freitas play. He did not realize at first that Freitas had a limb loss under his sweatpants. 

“He had obviously had to overcome some really great challenges. That actually made me more curious about him and want to recruit him more,” McCormack said. 

Freitas, who has appeared on “American Ninja Warrior,” teaches at a summer camp for lacrosse players with limb differences and runs a nonprofit lacrosse organization. 

“I think I lost my leg because it gave me an opportunity to work harder than other people,” he said. “The little positive aspects of losing my leg are the things I try to constantly remind myself of.”