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RapidShot And Rehabilitation Of Mario Lucia - University of Notre Dame

During a preseason workout, a teammate fell on Mario Lucia during a puck battle drill. He suffered a broken left fibula and ligament damage in his left ankle and was out for two months, postponing the start of his college career.

"It was probably the worst pain I've ever been in," Lucia said. "That kind of crushed me. I had tears in my eyes because you want to play in your first college game and you want to be able to help the team win."

During that long two month period, moving from crutches to a walking boot, to eventually being able to strap on skates again, Lucia's best friend was the RapidShot, hockey's version of a baseball batting cage. The RapidShot station feeds pucks to a player, who shoots them toward a goal configured to record accuracy, speed, and reaction time.

Lucia propped his left leg up to avoid putting pressure on it, and while the rest of the Irish skated, he fired puck after puck, trying to maintain his skills, as well as his sanity.

RapidShot "was kind of like my oasis, to still be able to shoot and stick handle when I wasn't able to be on the ice," Lucia said. "It kept my hands moving, and it was like my mental getaway, I guess. I probably shot six thousand pucks in there. "

He's currently riding a five-game point scoring streak, with four goals and four assists.

Lucia's ability to bounce back quickly landed him a spot on the U.S. national team for this year's World Junior Championships, currently underway in Ufa, Russia.

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