DENVER (CBS4) – In an era where protecting athletes is at a premium, nobody in men’s college lacrosse seemed to get the memo. Lacrosse might not be thought of as dangerous — but it is – especially for the goalie.

Tom Helmer in goal at DU (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Tom Helmer in goal at DU (credit: CBS)

There are two kinds of men who play lacrosse at the University of Denver — the sane — and the goalies. With almost no padding and no common sense, the goalies take a beating trying to keep a rock hard ball out of the net, and wounds are a given. DU was kind enough to let CBS4’s Tom Helmer try to block the hardest shots from some of their lacrosse players.

Helmer's knee after taking a shot (credit: CBS)

Helmer’s knee after taking a shot (credit: CBS)

“It’s worse after practice usually … the worst is on the forearms because it rips the skin off of your arms,” DU goalie Ryan LaPlante said. “I fell in love with playing goalie from the first time I played it in fourth grade. So, I’ve never looked back, really.”

“Honestly, you have to be a little crazy. I think if someone is shooting the ball and you’re playing defense or something, we’re pretty much all getting out of the way, and these guys want to stand in there and they get hit on a daily basis,” midfielder Connor Pagnani said.

“A lot of people come to a college game and see guys shoot it as fast as they can and wonder, ‘How are (the goalies) doing that?’ ” attacker Jack Bobzien said.

Helmer wanted to know what it was like to face those hot shots. Step one was to put on the minimal equipment provided to goalies. Step two was to use a high-tech app to gage ball speed. Step three was to learn how to stand and use the stick. Step four was to let the beating to begin.

When all was said and done Helmer never really stopped anything. It was more a matter of accidentally blocking the balls path to the net. But he took his shots like a man.

“My initial instinct was to scream out loud or maybe tear up a little bit,” Helmer said.

“The whole time we were just sitting back there talking about the guts that a news guy has to have to stand in the cage against college lacrosse players at this level,” midfielder Jake Woodring said.

DU usually uses two goalies over the course of a game. The coaching staff has a rule – if one of them gets hit in a “sensitive” area during warmups, the other goalie starts.


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