NCAA Bars Star Athlete; His Head Is ‘Too Big’

Screenshot: Boston Globe

Benched athlete – how is this not discrimination? 

“Lacrosse is kind of my whole life”

by Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe

| Wheaton College lacrosse player Alex Chu has been sidelined because no one can find a helmet big enough to fit him.

At 6 feet tall, 265 pounds, Alex Chu is a big kid with a mighty passion for playing one of the toughest positions in sports: lacrosse goalie.

As a high school all-star, Chu blocked dozens of shots per game, some hurtling at him at nearly 100 miles an hour.

He’s now a freshman at Wheaton College, where he was recruited for lacrosse.

But he’s sitting on the bench because they can’t find a helmet large enough for his head.

Yes, that’s right: Chu, a soft-spoken, polite kid who wants to become an elementary school teacher, happens to have an oversize head.

And without an NCAA-approved helmet, he’s been relegated to the sidelines, welcome to run sprints with the team but banned from tending shots or playing in games when the season begins later this month.

“Lacrosse is kind of my whole life,” Chu, 19, of Mendon, said when we met on campus. “I can’t remember ever going this long without playing.”

Chu’s parents, coaches, and supporters have exhausted themselves trying to get Chu back on the field in full pads and helmet. What they need is for one of the two major manufacturers of lacrosse helmets (Cascade-Maverik and Warrior) to agree to make a custom helmet for him.

At Nipmuc Regional High School in Upton, Chu wore a rigged-up helmet that a local fabricator made by combining the front and back portions of two different helmets. But he is no longer in business.

The state organization that oversees public high school athletics approved the custom-made helmet, and Chu made good use of it by notching dozens of victories for his team during two years in goal. Read more. 

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