NLL Story of the Year: John Grant Jr.
John Grant Jr. had a season for the ages in 2012, breaking the league’s single season scoring record with 116 points while also hitting major career milestones with his 500th goal and 1,000th point.
The feat was made more impressive by the fact that he missed two games in mid-season due to an upper body injury and was still able to snap John Tavares’ long-standing scoring record of 115 points.
John Grant Jr. is one of only six players in NLL history to record 1,000 career points and he was rewarded with the league’s MVP award following the season.
This was easily the story of the year in the National Lacrosse League, but it might have also been the story of the year in sports, considering the journey Grant took to get to this year.
The fact of the matter is that John Grant Jr. is lucky to be alive, much less playing lacrosse at an elite level.
In 2008, Grant suffered an elbow injury while playing summer lacrosse for the Peterborough Lakers of Major Series Lacrosse. For a month he played through the injury, getting doctors to drain the fluid on the elbow regularly to allow him to keep competing.
But during the playoffs, his left knee began swelling up as well.
Doctors ran him through courses of antibiotics and cleanout surgeries trying to stop the infection, but eventually concluded that the infection was attacking his surgically replaced anterior cruciate ligament. Surgeons went in and removed the ACL, along with some screws that had been placed in the knee during the ACL replacement surgery that he underwent in 2004.
The infection and damage to his leg was so bad that for a while doctors weren’t sure if they could save his leg or his life and were quite sure he would never play lacrosse again.
After almost three weeks in hospital and a couple months on rehab, the infection was finally beaten and they were able to replace his ACL once more. Although he missed the entire 2009 NLL season, amazingly enough he was playing again in June and back in the NLL with the Rochester Knighthawks for the 2010 season.
Fast forward a couple years and the 37-year-old veteran isn’t just playing out his days as a role-player; he is the best of the best.
You can’t make up stories like that one. Grant’s rise from such adversity is truly a story for the ages and he deserves all the credit he receives for his perseverance, grit, and determination.