A Haverhill native is participating in the Paralympics currently underway in Beijing, China.
Twenty-five-year-old Griffin LaMarre is a goalie on the Team USA Sled Hockey Team. In a WHAV interview with his mother, Donna, it was revealed Griffin, born with hereditary spastic paraplegia, entered hockey only as a second choice.
“We are a skiing family. We ski up at Sunday River, and they have the only free adaptive ski program in the country. So, my husband and my son were involved with that. He started, actually ski racing with adaptive equipment, and he was training to be on the Paralympic ski team, but at a camp, when he was 12 years old—I think maybe 11 years old—he broke both his legs. He ejected out of his skis and broke both his legs. So, he decided that he really wasn’t going to go back to skiing,” she explained.
On LaMarre’s road to recovery from broken legs, Donna said Griffin was fortunate to be treated by someone who “had an idea” and “knew someone.”
“His physical therapist had a friend who was running the disabled sports program at UNH, which is called Northeast Passage. So, he referred us up there and he got in a sled, and he’s never gotten out,” she said.
The USA Paralympics Hockey team is scheduled to play today and Sunday, March 13, after receiving a bye following the removal of Russia from the games. LeMarre made his Team USA debut in goal during a 9-1 victory against South Korea.
“If you read any of the things from the Olympics, it is the same venue that they had for the summer Olympics in Beijing. I think it was in 2008, and the same exact venue for the Olympics that were just there in February. And, just as a side note, what Paralympics actually means is it mirrors the Olympics, it para-mirrors the Olympics, so the venues and the same, the ski hills are the same, everything is exactly the same except the athletes are disabled,” she explained.
The games are expected to air during prime time, Friday and Sunday. Those interested are advised to check listings for the USA Network, Peacock, The Olympic Channel and NBC. Television channels are subject to change.
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