Favorite athlete: Saquon Barkley
Favorite team: Penn State Lacrosse Team
Favorite memory competing in sports: Beating Hatboro-Horsham in our last league game by four after we were losing most of the game.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has ever happened while competing in sports: Getting my fake tooth knocked out in our CB West game.
Music on iPod: Mostly Country
Future plans: Study Bio-Behavioral Health at Penn State University
Favorite motto: “Everything happens for a reason.”
One goal before turning 30: Graduate college
One thing people don’t know about me: I have a fake tooth because I never had an adult tooth.
By Mary Jane Souder
Maddie Knight didn’t live in the spotlight. The Souderton senior wasn’t a star, but she was a consistent contributor to the lacrosse team this spring.
The low attack player contributed 29 goals and 14 assists and was an integral part of an Indian squad that advanced to the District One 3A Tournament.
“She’s a quieter player, but she’s extremely coachable,” coach Nancy Offner said. “All the kids love her. She’s a great teammate, and all those other things that go with it.”
A hard worker, there was nothing to suggest that Knight had any limitations. Few knew that she has worked hard to overcome a brachial plexus injury that occurred during childbirth.
“When I was born, they tore nerves in my arm that caused it not to work,” she said. “I had to have a couple of surgeries to get it to work.”
The damage to a network of nerves that originate near the neck and shoulder has prevented Knight from having full use of her right arm.
“Maddie never lets on to having a disability or limitation,” said Offner, who is a physical therapist. “She always tried her hardest and never complained. Never asked for accommodations or requested an alternate activity for her to do. To the point where those of us around her would forget she had any sort of limitations. Honestly, I don’t think other players notice.”
Knight is a young lady of few words, but it takes absolutely no time at all to realize she has not allowed the injury to define her. Yes, she had to undergo therapy, but it never prevented her from playing with her older siblings.
“I don’t think it ever got in the way of doing much,” said Knight. “When I was younger, I didn’t really think about it as much, but as I got older and started taking sports more seriously, you start using your non-dominant hand in lacrosse, so I noticed it more then.
“I can’t put my arm behind my back by myself. Some activities we do in lacrosse – I wouldn’t be able to do a relay that had a crab walk where you have to put your arms behind your back. I would never be able to do that, so I would do a bear crawl, which is a forward version of that. That’s really the only thing I can think of in lacrosse that I’m not able to do.”
Knight might not be able to switch hands as effectively as some of her teammates, and she might not do the crab walk, but she has never asked for or wanted special treatment.
“During conditioning activities, when other players complained about how hard it was or because we were asking for proper form, Maddie never complained, never said anything,” Offner said. “She just worked harder to do the pushups, burpees or whatever it was even though due to her impairments, it was harder for her.
“When asked to go to non-dominant in drills, she did it, never complained never made excuses, just gives it 100 percent effort.”
And that’s pretty much all anyone needs to know about Knight.
Knight took dance lessons for six years with competitive sports entering the scene when she began playing basketball in second grade. In fourth grade, lacrosse entered the picture. She also dabbled in soccer.
“I probably played because everyone else did,” Knight said. “I don’t know how I started lacrosse – maybe because my friends were doing it.”
It wasn’t long before lacrosse had trumped the other sports.
“Probably because I felt I was best at that,” Knight said. “I think I enjoyed it more than basketball and had fun with it too.”
After going through the community league ranks, Knight began playing travel lacrosse in middle school and joined her first club team in seventh grade, initially playing with Aftershock and then – a year later - trying out for PA Pride, Offner’s club team. Knight stuck with PA Pride through her high school years and was a two-year varsity contributor.
An excellent student who has enrolled in honors and AP classes, Knight is a member of Future Business Leaders of America and is involved in Peer Tutoring. This fall, she will enroll at Penn State University where she plans to major in Bio-Behavioral Science with a minor in business. Her sights are set on a possible career as a medical product sales representative.
Knight has a hard time imagining life without lacrosse and is hoping to try out for Penn State’s club team.
Talk to Offner, and it sounds like a perfect fit.
“She’s extremely dedicated,” the Indians’ coach said. “She’s obviously a strong left handed player, and it’s truly a good character trait of hers that her disability has never been an excuse, it’s never been a reason for anything.
“She’s a neat kid from a great family.”