Diversity has many different perspectives, far beyond just black and white.

That was one of the main points of discussion during the recent Instagram Live chat between professional player Kyle Harrison and Marty Delaney, director of Parkville Adaptive Lacrosse. Their IG Live interview earlier this week launched a four-part series, hosted by US Lacrosse, to celebrate diversity and inclusion.

Delaney’s PAL program, started in 2001, seeks to provide lacrosse opportunities for developmentally challenged participants in a safe, fun, and nurturing environment. 

“One of the things I’ve learned is that there are so many nuances of people’s challenges,” Delaney said. “Some athletes have very limited movement; maybe they can just move their hand. But that doesn’t preclude them from being on the field.”

Delaney and his PAL volunteers seek to carve out a niche for each participant, based on the person’s particular needs. 

“I’ve learned how to focus on the individual player, to understand what their challenges are, and how to overcome them,” said Delaney, who has also started a new partnership with the Maryland School for the Blind to introduce modified lacrosse to visually impaired participants.

Harrison noted that education is one of the keys to furthering diversity and impacting real change in lacrosse.

“We all need to do our part to better understand people with differences,” he said. “Education will get us all to the next level.”

The PAL program utilizes a network of volunteers, including local high school players, to help facilitate lacrosse opportunities for developmentally challenged participants. As a Baltimore native, Delaney takes pride in the active engagement of his hometown community. 

“It so great to bring the community into this setting,” he said. “It’s very touching because we have a chance to make people kinder.”

Despite the suspension of activities this spring, Delaney has no plans to curtail the PAL program anytime soon, and in fact, hopes that it will continue to inspire new adaptive programs.

“There are a lot of untapped communities out there,” he said. “This has been incredibly rewarding.”
 

Adaptive Lacrosse

Athletes with disabilities benefit from the same training and conditioning as athletes without disabilities.

Learn More