GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The Colorado Mesa women's lacrosse team is still a relatively new program- in only its fourth year Now there are just three seniors remaining on the team from that inaugural season, one of whom, is lucky to even be alive.
Riding in the passenger seat of her friend's car, as a junior in high school, Lauren Wells was struck by another vehicle at 50 miles per hour. When she woke up in the hospital, playing lacrosse again was her biggest concern.
"The first thing i asked was, 'where's my phone?'" Wells said. "And second was 'can i still play lacrosse?'"
The wreck put Wells in the hospital for ten days including four in the ICU, where she was treated for a slew of injuries.
"A bruised kidney and bladder, a collapsed lung, a bruised lung, four broken ribs, a lacerated liver and spleen, a broken elbow, a broken tailbone, a broken pelvis, a brain injury, foot nerve damage, and i was also resuscitated in the ambulance."
Wells spent the next three months in a wheelchair, finishing the first half of school from home.
"They said i'd be lucky to play again."
Miraculously, she was cleared to play again the day before tryouts in February. She spent most of the season in a walking boot and the prep goalie who had been recruited by division one schools just months prior- including the University of Denver- slowly saw her dream slip away.
"She (UD lacrosse coach) had emailed me back and said 'honestly, we didn't think you'd ever come back from that, so we kind of went a different direction.' So that was... That was rough."
Wells found a second chance at Colorado Mesa and joined up with coach Abby Simpson and a brand new lacrosse program. It's a decision she knows was the right one.
"It's so humbling and rewarding," Wells said. "I can't imagine myself anywhere else but here."
The team went 11-31 in their first three years, but this season, as her health improves, so too have the Mavs. And though she continues to deal with residual pains from the accident, she says there's nothing that will keep her off the field.
"it's just one of those 'you just suck it up and deal' because my time here is almost over. I would not sit out a day for anything."
The Mavs have a 5-3 record. and have won their last three, which is the first time in the program's history they've been on a win streak. They'll try to make it four in a row Sunday in the RMAC opener at Fort Lewis.