WESTPORT >> It’s been more than a year since Staples’ Patrick Lesch has played in a regular season lacrosse game. It’s been since his sophomore year that he’s played an entire lacrosse season.
A string of injuries has kept the two-sport standout athlete from the lacrosse field for some time, but now midway through his senior season, Lesch is finally hoping to play.
“I’m looking forward to getting back out here with the guys and being part of the team on the field,” Lesch said.
Lesch, who plays midfield, was basically one game from playing in the regular season opener against Weston in April when he was injured in a preseason contest against New Canaan. He punctured a lung and suffered broken ribs.
“I came around the net and they (New Canaan) were playing some good defense and it was just an unlucky hit where I came around, I was falling and I ended up landing on a kid’s knee,” Lesch said.
Lesch said the punctured lung was a little scary.
“It was definitely something new,” Lesch said with a smile. “That’s something, struggling breathing is different.”
As of May 1, Lesch said he was cleared to start lightly practicing with the team. No exact date for when his first game back is, but Lesch said he was told to see how everything goes in practices first.
“I’m hoping to play a game in the next couple weeks,” he said.
Not playing has been something he’s been forced to become accustomed to.
He missed almost all of the 2013 lacrosse season as he was recovering from a torn labrum in his right hip. That injury also forced him to miss the football season-opener against Xavier.
But through the injuries Lesch has taken it all in stride.
“It’s very upsetting for him and for all of us that he’s missing all this time, he has excellent ability,” Staples’ head coach Paul McNulty said. “But he has stayed with the team, showed great leadership. His personality is very outward and positive.”
A captain for the team, Lesch said as much as he tries to help out in any way he can in games and practices, the sideline view has been trying.
Last year he watched the Wreckers make an incredible postseason run and finish runner-up in the Class L State Tournament. This year, he’s watched his team jump out to a 6-3 record, with conference losses to Greenwich and Ridgefield.
“It’s really tough, but we have a really good team,” Lesch said. “It’s not like I could look out there and say I could change the game and a loss would have been a win, but it’s tough because it’s such a great game and I love the sport.”
McNulty said when Lesch does return to the field, he’s hoping his speed and ability at the midfield will bring an added element to the team.
“He’s very fast and will be a good compliment to Will Johnson at midfield,” McNulty said.
Lesch, who led the Staples football team in rushing yards (1,011) this past fall, committed in late 2012 to play lacrosse for Dartmouth.
And when Lesch does finally make his debut this season, he’s just hoping he can seamlessly blend in.
“The team is doing great and hopefully I’ll find a place on the field and help in any way,” Lesch said. “I’m excited to get back out there.”