A North Carolina lacrosse player with a rare disorder experienced a special moment last week.
Last week, with four minutes left in Lake Norman’s (Mooresville, N.C.) 16-7 win over Mooresville, senior Vaughn Porter scored his first career goal. His entire team rushed toward him to celebrate, even those who were on the bench.
As the Charlotte Observer reports, Porter has 22q.11 Deletion Syndrome. Affecting an estimated one in 4,000 people, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is caused by the deletion of a small piece of chromosome 22 and commonly can cause heart abnormalities, a cleft palate and distinctive facial features, in addition to other issues due to immune system dysfunction.
Nothing was stopping him from finding the goal last week, though.
After joining the team as a manager, Porter stayed on board this year and got to suit up with his younger brother, Quinn.
“Vaughn called us when we were in Mexico and told us that he asked Coach (James) Brugger if he could play lacrosse, and we told him that’s not really how it works,” Vaughn’s mother, Jenni Porter, told the Observer. “But it did work. Coach Brugger and the team accepted Vaughn like any other player. He helped out the team, then started playing in the summer, fall and Polar Bear leagues.”
After putting in the time in the offseason, Porter made the team as a senior. Fast forward to last week, with Porter’s goal coming as Lake Norman clinched the conference 11 championship and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
After the goal, the Observer reports that Mooresville goalie Robert Mendez presented Porter with the game ball.
“When Vaughn (Porter) scored, there was not a dry eye in the place, as the team rushed the field,” Brugger told the Observer. “’We don’t rush the field for goals, but I told the kids that if Vaughn scored a goal, I wouldn’t mind if they rushed the field. When Vaughn scored, we all just took off running, jumped on him, hugged him and celebrated. It was a moment none of us will ever forget.
“To see Vaughn smiling ear to ear for the rest of the night and even the next day made it even better.”