BY: USA GAMES CORRESPONDENT, MIKE GASTINEAU
Will Larsen’s senior year of high school had just been turned sideways.
The Orono, Minnesota resident had been playing hockey on a Saturday morning when his skate gave out and he slid into the dasher board, breaking his leg in two places in the process.
There’s no doubt that he had plenty on his mind as he was loaded into an ambulance for a trip to the hospital where he would undergo surgery on his leg later that day. But at the top of his suddenly updated to-do list was making sure someone got ahold of Sam Geffre.
Sam is a 10th grader at Orono High School and he and Larsen had become friends through the school’s Unified sports program. Geffre had been quite reluctant to get involved in the program at first, but with Larsen’s encouragement, he gradually got interested. He began playing on the school’s flag football team and he and Will were partners on the school’s Unified bowling team. Larsen also encouraged Sam to get involved in other activities and one of those was committing to attending the homecoming dance. Sam agreed and Will planned on giving him a ride to the dance.
The dance was scheduled for the evening of the day when Will broke his leg. On his way to the hospital after his accident, he called the advisor for the Unified program and informed him that someone else was going to have to pick up Sam and make sure he had a good time at the dance.
“Who does that?” asks Leslie O’Meara, a teacher at Orono High School who nominated Larsen for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games #ImAGameChanger campaign.