Meet Cameron Steer. Cameron hails from Lanark, Scotland and is an incredible inspiration to not just athletes on the Autism Spectrum, but athletes everywhere.
Cameron was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of 10. Not uncommon with those on the spectrum are anxiety, depression and social deficits that can make being "normal" a challenge. Being from Scotland, Cameron started playing soccer (or football for those of us in the US), and excelled enough to represent Scotland on the U18 Soccer Team. Soccer gave him an outlet to get rid of some of that anxiety and depression, as well as, helping develop social skills that were lacking. Having an understanding coach and teammates was key.
3 years ago he moved to the US to attend college and play soccer. While his teammates and coaches in Scotland understood his challenges; the challenges in the US were with the coaches and teammates not understanding what Autism is and how it affects an athlete. Fortunately some of the residents of his dorm were on the lacrosse team and showed him the sport he has come to embrace. He eventually stopped playing soccer and now plays for his college lacrosse team full time. Picking up the game quickly may seem surprising; the Native Americans who developed the game have called it "The Creator's Game" or "The Medicine Game", for Cameron the latter is true.
"Lacrosse" is an incredible way of treating the negative symptoms of having autism. It helps me develop as a person to deal with the anxiety, depression and social issues" - Cameron Steer
Also helping in his lacrosse journey are his coaches that understand the communication needs and that coaching an athlete with Autism may require different tactics; it also helps to have a lacrosse community that is accepting and willing to assist him in no only learning the game but helping him cope and progress as he gets older.
3 years after coming to the US to play soccer; Cameron now has the opportunity for inclusion for the Scottish National Lacrosse Team, training for the European Championships in 2021 along side some very talented players and coaches.
"My advice to any young adolescent with Autism that's struggling with the transition and changes of teenage life would be: this condition isn't always going to feel like a gift, but I promise you that it is. You are unique and capable of incredible things that you've not been made aware of yet. Give yourself time to grow and time to find something you truly enjoy; that gives you feeling of purpose and drive" - Cameron Steer
As Cameron has aged into a young adult he has realized that Autism is one of the best things about him and his personality revolves around some really positive traits that Autism gives him.
We are humbled that Cameron has shared his story with us and we wish him the best as he progresses in his lacrosse career. Cameron's experiences solidify the fact that lacrosse really is a medicine game and the lacrosse community is something very very special.