Let it be known that there is nothing wrong with Ian Sullivan.

Sure, upon first meeting him you might notice a slight limp on his right side, but everything about him seems to scream "normal teenager." He likes hanging out with friends, working out, playing video games and basketball. All the typical teenager stuff.

And even though he's battled spastic diplegia -- the most common form of cerebral palsy -- he's still a better lacrosse player than most.

"He's worked as hard as he could to be the best he could be," Monte Vista High boys lacrosse coach Mike Lambrecht said. "I've seen how he doesn't even consider his disability and just works hard, and that's what inspires you about him."

Sullivan, 18, who completed his high school career in the spring at Monte Vista, never has hidden behind his disability.

He won't be doing that as an incoming freshman at the University of Arizona. Sullivan is headed to Tucson at the end of this month, and he'll attempt to make the team in the spring.

"I just think of myself as a normal guy," Sullivan said. "I have a disability, but I don't fret about it. I have to live my life, and I can't look at it as an excuse. That would be pointless."

And living his life is exactly what he has done, without being angry or expecting sympathy or privileges because of his disability.


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"It's all he's ever known, so from his perspective, and from ours, he's just a normal kid," Ian's dad, Jim Sullivan, said. "We really don't think about his disability. It's been something that's made him a stronger person. He's met more challenges than most people, and he's risen to the occasion. He never uses his challenges as an excuse."

Sullivan picked up lacrosse in junior high, getting hooked when watching a neighbor play. In the seventh grade, he joined the Scorpions youth lacrosse program, playing for Gene Brown. Even then, he knew he wanted nothing handed to him.

"He just persevered," Brown said. "He worked hard all the time, had a great attitude and was really a pleasure to be with. That's just the kind of person that he is.

"He's just an unbelievable kid who happens to have (a disability). And even with them he wanted to play lacrosse so bad that he found a way to do it. All he ever wanted to do was please. When he was down, he didn't show it, and I'm sure he had his days where he was down."

Sullivan was cut from the team as a freshman at Monte Vista. Two years on the junior varsity followed that disappointment. In his final year, Sullivan earned his varsity letter.

"I earned it, and I worked hard at it," Sullivan said. "If I was going to make the team because they felt bad for me, I would want them to cut me."

Sullivan played in eight games for the Mustangs this year. He happened to have the top goalie in Northern California ahead of him, Nico Dutra. Monte Vista has boasted some talented goalies such as Dutra and last year's starter, Trevor Moriarty, both of whom worked with Sullivan.

"Both those guys took me under their wing, and they helped me excel at my skills," Sullivan said. "Monte Vista has always had great goalies, so I didn't get to play much, but just about any other team, I feel like I could have started for."

Sullivan obviously is driven, determined and a hard worker, but nobody can do it alone. With the support of his family, he never stopped believing in himself.

"My parents have been supportive my whole life," Sullivan said. "My dad said never to say that I can't, because I can. My dad is an extremely hard worker, and that's where I get it."

His parents swell with pride when talking about their son.

"Were really proud of him," Jim Sullivan said. "He's bright, funny, has a good attitude, a good head on his shoulders, and he's articulate. He's got a great life ahead of him."