Hayes lacrosse goalie Josh Sumner shines despite rare leg disorder


DELAWARE, Ohio (WCMH) — Hayes senior Josh Sumner has overcome a gauntlet of obstacles and injuries to become a leader of the Pacers’ lacrosse team.

“I know I’m not some great 5-star prospect you know what I’m saying,” Sumner said.

Forget 5-star prospect, just the prospect of Josh Sumner playing lacrosse is remarkable. Josh was born with hereditary spastic paraplegia, a rare disorder that causes weakness and stiffness in the leg muscles.

“I haven’t had anyone discourage me from playing this sport and that’s why I think honestly I kept playing because no one told me I couldn’t do something,” he said.

Earlier this month, Josh suffered a stress fracture for the second time in two years. But even when he’s not playing goalkeeper he’s keeping his teammates’ spirits up.

“You know the sky is the limit, so I’ve just got to stay out there and keep reminding them of that,” Sumner said.

The limit for Josh could have been when he had surgery on his foot forcing him to miss his entire freshman season. The limit could have also been a sprained ankle his sophomore year or the stress fracture he suffered before the 2020 season was canceled.

“If he can do it, we can do it,” Hayes senior lacrosse player Andrew Houck said. “The thing about it is Josh never complains. He gets it done. He never makes an excuse. It’s very inspiring to all of us.”

Josh started playing lacrosse in fifth grade and was part of Anthony Sanfillipo’s seventh-grade team at Dempsey Middle School.

“Nothing has changed with him,” Sanfillipo said. “He has had the same attitude since he was in seventh grade and he’s just such a contagious spirit. He’s just the epitome of attitude is everything in life.”

Josh will attend Ohio Wesleyan in the fall and major in education, so he can give back to the Delaware community.

“No one can hold you back but you to be honest,” Sumner said. “As long as you’ve got the supporting cast around you, you can do anything.”

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