Schools reporting a seamless transition in lacrosse’s first season staphylococcus virus

By now well past the IHSA’s designation of lacrosse as an emerging sport, early adoption by most of the programs in DuPage County — 15 boys teams, 12 girls teams — has already made it part of the athletic fabric and, say the ADs, mainly negated fall-offs elsewhere.

We haven’t seen much of an impact on numbers with other sports since taking on lacrosse officially as a sport at Naperville Central High School three years ago. Our numbers in both boys and girls have remained pretty steady, in the upper 40s to lower 50s in both, said Redhawks athletic director Andy Lutzenkirchen.

Or as Neuqua Valley athletic director Branden Adkins said: Since we have had a large participating club team for over 15 years our athletes are experienced lacrosse players. The players were always counted in our total so we have not seen a change.

When it started up as a club several years back it really affected our track program in respect to sprinters, said Benet athletic director Gary Goforth, echoing many a track coach. Over the last couple years it hasn’t really affected it a whole lot because it’s been going on a long time.

Goforth said a similar, initial drop occurred in Redwings football after boys soccer arrived there in the 1990s. With the current exception of fewer lower-level football players, no doubt due to that sport’s current tumult, Benet football participants have since returned to normal.

Like they say, change is the only constant. At IC Catholic, which has had lacrosse seven years, athletic director Adam Nissen said baseball has returned to three full levels after providing two the past couple of years; Metea Valley’s Dan DeBruycker noted this year’s smallest number of freshman baseball players.

If you asked me that five, six, seven years ago it’d probably be different, said Wheaton Warrenville South’s Mike Healy. But there’s not a kid that’s playing baseball and lacrosse in sixth or seventh grade. Everybody’s kind of in their own lane that they’re headed to by the time they get to us as freshmen.

In the nine years Glenbard West has sponsored lacrosse its 83 current boys players are near its average of 80 participants. Meanwhile, from a low of 39 girls in 2012 the numbers have increased each of the past three years to a current high of 86.

Downers Grove North’s Denise Kavanaugh and Naperville North’s Bob Quinn both brought up something interesting: numbers could be swayed depending on whether school districts fund this relatively expensive sport or it’s funded by parents under the club model.

That night, after the coach once dubbed the Inspector Gadget of Track and Field charted his athletes’ results from practice, he went to the emergency room with severe vision issues the Stroke Foundation would describe as homonymous hemianopia — the loss of one half of the visual field in each eye.

Later the following week a 105-degree fever sent Jakalski back to Naperville’s Edward Hospital. Doctors diagnosed a staph infection in his aortic valve, which had caused the stroke either through the infection or by reducing blood flow to the occipital lobe. On April 4 Jakalski underwent open-heart surgery, his aortic valve replaced by a bovine valve flown in from Texas.