The boys did not meet until a year later when they were both "in the clear", but we became fast friends with Noah's parents, Chris and Rachel Grove, exchanging pleasantries when we could and sharing movies while we were all hospitalized together.
Born and raised in Frederick, Maryland, Noah has one younger brother, Carson, age 16, who Noah considers his best friend despite all the attention Noah received, and continues to receive regarding his situation and that fact he is on the USA National Sled Hockey Team and on the USA Amputee Soccer Team.
Both boys are phenomenal athletes (Carson sport is soccer and he made 1st Team All County as a sophomore in high school), and of course, Noah scoring (2)goals in the Para Olympic Games in PyeongChang/Gangneung, South Korea this past March (can you believe it was only nine months ago?); one goal against Japan and one goal against Italy, plus (3) assists! All these goals, plus a stellar roster of awesome "sledders", catapulted them to the gold medal match where they beat Canada 1-0 in Overtime (it was 1-1 at the end of regulation)! Noah was happy to play exactly 2 minutes and 30 seconds in that iconic Gold Medal Game.
Noah revealed that he has always loved sports and has tried most everything (even with his prosthetic or using crutches); basketball, lacrosse, golf (on the varsity squad in high school), and of course, soccer and sled hockey where he excels beyond measure. At age 13/14; Noah was on the fast track of making the developmental teams, then national team in sled hockey in 2016; and has always been in the pool of athletes for the USA Para Soccer Team. So, that is where all his travel began: to tryouts and games across the US and the world, and yet he has managed to balance all of it with grace, gratitude and grit!
Interestingly, Noah at 19 years old is the youngest on the sled hockey team by age, but considers himself a "veteran" of the team as well. He is wise beyond his years for sure...
When I interviewed him by phone a few days ago, he was driving home (he can with no problem using his right leg) from college for the holiday/winter break. He is now a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire (loves the school) with an undeclared major, though very much interested in psychology and Child Life studies to eventually help families and kids just like him someday. He selected UNH due to their excellence in education and that the school offers a premium club sled hockey team program run by the North East Passage or NEP.
Noah also wanted to address that he has also played various sports with the Wounded Warriors. He declared the guys on the team helped him "grow up" in a lot of ways that even his parents could simply not help him as the amputee guys could do. He says they helped him "accept the reality" of his situation and keep chugging along. Did I mention this kid is amazing?
As mentioned above, Noah has a deep interest in helping families and children cope with traumatic experiences, news, and devastating events in their lives. When I inquired on how he has managed and coped with his experience, he attributed most of his resilience to his immediate family unit and the close knit bond they developed by leaning on each other (hard at times) to get through the tough moments and building lasting strength for each other to this day. Bravo my friends!
As lastly, when I asked this medium blue loving kid what he would grab if his house was on fire and had two minutes to get anything out (except pets and people), he immediately said his gold medal. He then thought for a moment and mentioned that he would also grab a lavender dolphin stuffed animal his mother had given him as a young child that has special meaning and wouldn't want to live a day without it. How sweet and sentimental is that?
BSoleille! The bright side of #celebratingothers with Noah Grove!