Soon after the 2016 moped accident that resulted in the loss of her left leg, former Londonderry High multi-sport standout Noelle Lambert told everyone that she would one day return to playing Division I women’s collegiate lacrosse at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
Though some folks might have seen the possibility of that happening as highly-doubtful if notsimply a dream, those for whom Lambert played high school sports – including former LHS lax coach Bob Slater and current school soccer coach Derek Dane and basketball coach Nick Theos – stated plainly that very few of the athletes who they had coached over the years could in fact return to playing with a prosthetic limb, but Noelle Lambert was absolutely one of those few.
The ex-Lady Lancer showed everybody – the nay-sayers and the believers alike – that she could in fact rebound from such an awful injury to play women’s college lacrosse. And the whole world has taken notice.
It happened late in the first period of her team’s blowout victory over the University of Hartford squad in Lowell last Saturday, April 7, with Lambert getting her first playing time of the 2018 season.
Lambert took a pass from a teammate in the upper-right section of the slot in front of the Hartford net and zinged a lightning-quick shot past the opposing goalie before she even had time to react.
The former LHS multi-sport star and her teammates – every teammate, including the ones on the bench – celebrated the event with the gusto and tears which were called for on the occasion.
Subsequently, Lambert received messages of praise from all over the place – on her Facebook page and well beyond – and video clips of the goal were run on ESPN and a great many other places.
Therapist Jason Lalla wrote, “A year-and-a-half ago Noelle came into Next Steps office after losing her leg above the knee in a moped accident. She told me she wanted to play lacrosse with her team again, a D-I lacrosse team. I had my doubts. It’s tough enough to run on a prosthesis with a mechanical knee, never mind catch and throw at the same time. I watched her take her first steps, I watched her bust her butt in physical therapy, and now 1 1/2 years later she takes the field and puts points on the board. Truly awesome!”
All of the athletes and coaches who had Lambert in their midst prior to the loss of her leg were completely aware of her amazing intestinal fortitude, mental toughness, and intense competitive fire. But by returning to play D-I women’s college lacrosse she took all of that to a still higher level.
Her friend Stephanie McDonald wrote on Facebook, “She made broken look beautiful, and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders, and made it look like a pair of wings.”
Lambert was also asked to throw out the first pitch prior to one of the Red Sox/Yankees’ games this week at Fenway Park.
Needless to say, Lambert’s example will stand as one which will doubtless inspire folks, young and old, dealing with adversity which others may say is insurmountable. But now, those folks can answer, “Maybe, but look at what Noelle Lambert did.”