Q&A: Noah Grove, Member, U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team and USA warriors
Losing a leg to cancer when you were 5-years-old didn’t sideline you from being active in sports. Lately, your sport of choice is sled hockey, a full-contact sport. What’s the attraction to the rough-and-tumble game?
It’s a ton of fun throwing your weight around even for me, normally the smallest one out there, because it adds a whole new dimension and strategy to the game. Plus, it really has toughened me up physically and mentally because you have to be ready to take big hits.
In addition to playing on soccer teams using your prosthesis, you also play without it on crutches. Do you have a preference?
No, I gain a different skill set when I play on either. When I am on my prosthesis I can kick the ball harder than on my crutches. On my crutches, however, I can control the ball and move with the ball on my foot with a lot more control at higher speeds and more efficiently.
Recently you qualified to be a referee for able-body soccer matches. Will this provide enough action for you on the field?
Yes, indeed, those kids keep me on my toes and moving constantly throughout the game. Plus, I get to watch soccer, so what more could you ask for?
As a member of USA Warriors, what have you, at 15, learned from these wounded military veterans?
These guys are great. I have learned so much about how to be a leader and how to speak up if you have something to say. But mostly I learned how to play with heart and passion. These warriors fought for their country and they play with the same energy and intensity they had when they fought for us overseas.
What are your plans after graduating from Urbana High School?
Right now, the major goal is to make the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team by the end of my senior year of high school. That team will go to the 2018 Paralympics. If I make that team I will most likely have to put my first semester of college on hold to train for Paralympics. Whether I make it or not, however, I definitely want to go to a four-year college and maybe even more school after that. I just do not know what interests me yet, so I can’t tell you what I want to major in. But this summer I am going to be working at Ability Prosthetics (at 73 Thomas Johnson Drive) so that may be something I want to do in the future I just need to find out.