By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/11/09
He literally had his senior year of lacrosse pulled out of the socket.
Growney suffered a posterior sterno-clavicular dislocation during the Fords’ 8-2 victory over McCallie (TN) on March 22nd at St. Paul’s School in Baltimore. Growney was hit by a McCallie defender moments after dodging and releasing a shot on goal, just as his arm was fully extended.
The impact, coming at the angle it did, forced his collarbone to separate from the top of his breast plate and into the base of his neck, impacting his breathing.
The injury, more commonly seen in automobile accidents, ultimately landed Growney at Baltimore’s University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where doctors stabilized his condition and later maneuvered the bone back into place under general anesthesia.
Growney remembers being numbed by the jolt of the hit and just wanted to leave the field. “I really couldn’t move my arm,” he said. “I was on the ground for 5 seconds and just got up and ran off.”
The good news is that Growney is on the mend. He is in a shoulder harnass for at least four weeks and he is expected to regain his strength and mobility as the joint remodels. “It doesn’t hurt when I walk around,” he said. The harness holds my shoulders back, my posture is better now.”
The injury came just as Growney, an honor student who earlier this week was inducted into the prestigious Cum Laude Society, was emerging as a key offensive middie for the Fords after contributing last year mostly as a short stick middie in defensive situations.
He scored two goals in the Fords’ second-half comeback against nationally ranked St. Paul’s School and had three goals and an assist against Seneca Valley the day before the McCallie game. His absence on offense may have been felt by the Fords in recent losses to McDonogh (8-1), Conestoga (10-4), Malvern Prep (8-5) and Radnor (5-4)..
Growney, however, is determined to recover and play next year at Williams College in Massachusetts. He is content now to serve as the team’s statistician and realizes he is fortunate the injury was not more serious.
“I think it hit me (that his lacrosse season was over) after it popped back into place at the hospital,” said Growney. “Then it hit me again a few days later. Now, I think it’s mostly out of my system and I’ve shifted my focus to supporting the team.”
Growney said the school and friends from the Philadelphia lacrosse community have been supportive through his ordeal, including former teammates from youth and middle school lacrosse and those from Headstrong, Competitive Edge and Mesa Fresh, all clubs he’s played for.
He’s received cards, care packages and notes from well-wishers reminding him he has college lacrosse at Williams to look forward to. Williams has a strong lacrosse tradition and beat Middlebury last year to win the highly regarded New England Small College Athletic Conference.
“I have to be patient and I know I’ll be able to play next year,” he said. “It’s frustrating though because this was my year!”
Growney has indeed enjoyed success as an athlete this year. In the fall, he went out for cross country for the first time after an appendectomy waylaid his plans to play soccer. He placed 14th in the state in the Independent School meet and was both a first-team All-Inter-Ac League and All-Main Line choice as a harrier. Over the winter, he anchored Haverford’s record-setting 4×400 relay team, which finished 16th in the state. He also set a school indoor track record in the 800 meters.
Academically, he is taking four honors classes and is excited about attending what many consider the top liberal arts college in the country. He is considering history and economics as possible majors.
“I have heard a lot of really good things about Williams,” he said. “I liked Coach (George) McCormack and the idea of a small school that combines great athletics with great academics.”
Growney’s name is a recognized one in many Philadelphia lacrosse circles. His father, Scott, was an All-American at Harriton High and Trinity College and a charter member of the Philadelphia Wings. He was inducted into the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2005 and helps coach the Mesa Fresh team while also serving several key roles for the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association. Two of Colton’s uncles, Steve Growney and Bob Aitken, were also All-American lacrosse players.
“I can’t remember exactly when I started playing,” said Colton, whose younger brother Chase plays midfield and attack at Episcopal Academy. I remember when I was little my dad signed me up for youth baseball. The baseball coach was always upset because I’d skip baseball games to play lacrosse. Lacrosse was my sport.”
And, by all accounts, it will be again soon.
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Lacrosse Association