How Lacrosse Helped an Amputee Rehabilitate Both Mind and Body


Six years ago, Christian Cosme was the driver in an accident that killed a man. Cosme lost his left arm and faced felony charges. He turned to his faith and says lacrosse kept him from despair.

 

Christian Cosme moved around a lot as a kidBorn in Puerto Rico, he first lived in the continental U.S. in Massachusetts. Life has since taken him to North Carolina, California, Indiana and back to North Carolina again.

The one constant in Cosme’s life has been sports. He played football and baseball growing up — even winning a state championship in baseball as a 9-year-old in Zebulon, N.C.

Cosme first saw lacrosse as a third grader in Cary, N.C. He didn’t try it for the first time until he played in the Hamilton Southeastern rec league as a sixth grader in Indiana. He was a faceoff guy. A grinder. He immediately fell in love.

Over time, the game has meant more to Cosme than he could have imagined. In 2016, Cosme was the driver in an accident that killed a man in Raleigh, N.C. At age 24, he was charged with felony death by motor vehicle, driving while impaired and other offenses. Cosme lost his left arm just below his shoulder and was in a coma.

A semi-pro football player prior to that life-changing accident, Cosme turned his attention to lacrosse and weightlifting after waking up from his coma.

“My faith is really what helped me get through my accident,” Cosme said. “Studying Christian ministries helped me with that. What brought me back really is the Creator’s Game. The Medicine Game. That spiritual aspect of lacrosse.”

Cosme, 30, still takes faceoffs. Yes, even as an amputee. He went viral in July for a goal he scored for Los Guapos of the Raleigh Men’s Summer League. But scoring isn’t usually his bag. Cosme is still a grinder, and the faceoff stripe is where he calls home. With his girlfriend filming all his games so he can populate his 25,000-follower Instagram, Cosme fights for every ball.

“I don’t win them all, but I’m just out there trying,” Cosme said.







Cosme’s social media presence has attracted the attention of some of the most recognizable figures in professional lacrosse. He gets pointers from Greg Gurenlian, Trevor Baptiste and Jerry Ragonese. He sat field-side in Charlotte when the Premier Lacrosse League stopped there this summer and met Paul Rabil, who was a fan of his videos. Buffalo Bandits players came up to him during the National Lacrosse League season and asked if he was “that guy” they had seen online.

Lacrosse, both as a hobby and a discipline, have been guiding lights for Cosme. The sport and its principles have helped guide him along a new path.

“Every day, he just wants to be one percent better in something,” Gurenlian said. “For him, it’s very simple. He wants something, and it’s more important to him than taking off a day or sitting on the couch and watching TV.”

Cosme used to take faceoffs in a knee-down stance with a motorcycle grip. He sent a video to Gurenlian for pointers, and pro lacrosse’s all-time leader in faceoff wins suggested he try standing up.

“It’s just will,” Gurenlian said. “People ask me all the time about training. It’s not about motivation. It’s about discipline.”

Cosme has a prosthetic arm, but he doesn’t wear it when he plays. In many of his Instagram posts, he can be seen training without it, too. He really only wears it at work. He’s an independent contractor through his own company, Cyborg Future, and works in validation for pharmaceutical companies. That means he uses his arm quite a bit.

But the prosthetic industry has left Cosme with a sour taste. He called it “a pain” considering the politics and insurance factors, plus the quality of equipment isn’t high. Cosme started his company in 2018 in hopes of one day generating enough capital for him to design or innovate the bionic arm.

A bachelor’s degree in business is on the horizon, as Cosme needs just 10 more classes to graduate from Point University. He’s set to graduate in 2023, minoring in biblical studies.

After his accident, Cosme has done his best to reset his path. He’s a published author — you can purchase “The Professional Procrastinator: 5 Easy Steps to a Well-Balanced Life” on Amazon — and has also dabbled in his own “Cyborg Future” apparel line.

Most importantly, he’s tethered to the grind through lacrosse.

“That’s what keeps him going,” Gurenlian said. “There’s more to do and more to learn. A thirst for knowledge is something any teacher or coach dreams of.”

Lacrosse can’t change the past, but it’s fittingly inspired Cosme’s future.

“It’s given me confidence,” he said. “It’s given me hope. It’s boosted my spirit.”

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