Most elite high school recruits with Division I scholarships in their pockets face a daily struggle with senioritis, but Max Parker committed to battle a far more serious disease.
Parker has signed to play lacrosse for Syracuse University, where he will pursue a career in oncology as a future cancer doctor, according to this fantastic Orlando Sentinel feature.
"That's what I want to be a pro in: a doctor,'' Parker, who spent his summer as an intern for Florida Hospital's Cancer Institute of Florida, told the Sentinel. "I have a lot of family experience with cancer. I've seen close friends pass away from it. I want to apply my passion to that field and see if I can help make some advances in it.
"I've had uncles, cousins, grandparents who have had cancer," he added. "Those are my inspirations when I go out to work.''
When he isn't shadowing medical director and oncologist Dr. Robert Reynolds, studying cancer treatments and conversing with recently diagnosed patients, Parker is a face-off specialist for one of the country's top lacrosse teams, winning 75 percent of his "little position battles" for Orlando (Fla.) Lake Highland Prep's state title team this past spring.
"This is a kid with just a huge heart," Lake Highland prep lacrosse coach Chris Spaulding told the Sentinel. "Everybody likes him, and he gets along with everybody. He has a lot of compassion, and that, combined with his grit, is going to make him successful, no matter what line of work he goes into.''
A top-10 recruit nationally and No. 2 college-bound senior in Florida, according to the Sentinel, Parker will join a Syracuse squad that reached the national championship game last season but lost 70 percent of its face-offs in a 16-10 loss to Duke.
If he's as successful beating cancer as he is beating his face-off opponents, his contribution to the Orange's success on the field won't be the last you'll hear of Max Parker.
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