A Grieving Mother Helps Bring Lacrosse To Hampton University

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Until this year, no historically black college since 1981 had fielded a men's Division I lacrosse program. But then Hampton University student Michael Crawford and his mother Verina Mathis-Crawford came along.

Michael Crawford. (Courtesy)
Michael Crawford. (Courtesy)

Michael picked up lacrosse in high school and wanted to bring it to Hampton University as a club sport. The idea was a long shot. Still, he submitted a proposal to school administrators.

But while home on the winter break, Michael unexpectedly passed away.

"There's some days that one never forgets," Verina recalls. "It was Dec. 28, 2010. Michael did not come down for dinner, as I would usually call him. He and I were scheduled to watch a football game that evening. So I went up to Michael's room, and Mike was, at that point, unresponsive."

Michael had gone into sudden cardiac arrest. He was 21.

"I had to dig down real deep to understand: is there any work I could pick up that was unfinished business of Mike's?" Verina says. "So I started making phone calls."

Verina Mathis-Crawford shares her story, In Her Own WordsTo hear the full story, click the play button below the headline at the top of the page.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that Hampton University was the first historically black college since 1981 to field a Division I lacrosse program. In fact, Howard University has fielded a Division I women's team since 1998. We regret this error. 

This segment aired on April 9, 2016.


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Martin Kessler Producer, Only A Game
Martin Kessler is a producer at Only A Game.



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