Short but sweet, the career of a two-time Steinfeld Trophy winner and one of the MLL’s best, has come to an end.
Brad Ross, who has played lacrosse professionally since his rookie season in 2009 with the then-Toronto Nationals, has announced his retirement due to medical reasons. Ross closes his four-year career having won championships with two different teams.
“I’ve had a history of concussions all the way from high school throughout college and then onto the MLL,” Ross said. “As college coaches, we deal with these things all the time, so we’re very educated in understanding some of the long-term effects of what’s going on with concussions nowadays.”
“I think that what kind of made the decision for me and my fiancée and my family was that the doctor was concerned about a getting hit with a big shot and about a number of smaller hits maybe coming in the summer that would’ve made it worse in other words, all those smaller hits that have built up over time; made him very concerned.”
The sport has been a part of his life for a while, long before he stepped into the professional ranks, as he made his presence felt immediately as an amateur. As a four-year letterman at Bullis School in Montgomery County, Md., Ross was also a two-time All-County and All-Conference choice and received All-State and All-America honors as a senior.
Upon graduation, Ross moved on to Duke University where he played in 86 games across five years for the Blue Devils lax squad. Ross received several honors during his time at Duke, including three All-American recognitions in addition to the honor of being named team captain for two years. He led his team to three consecutive ACC titles form 2007-2009 and two NCAA tournament championship berths in 2005 and 2007 all while playing in an NCAA-record 73 wins.
“I think the thing that I’ll always remember from my time at Duke was the players and coaches I worked with,” Ross continued. “You remember the experiences and the goals and assists and big plays, but more than anything else you just remember all the time spent with the guys. I was lucky enough to play with arguably some of the greatest players our sport has ever seen. To learn from them and be around them, I’ve taken so many of those experiences into my coaching career.”
Upon being drafted by the Nationals in 2009, Ross looked to make an impact during his inaugural MLL season, which saw him play in three games where he scored two goals during Toronto’s run to the Steinfeld Cup.
“The thing that I remember about Toronto was just the rapid learning curve of playing that Canadian style of lacrosse,” he said about his time with the Nationals. “I had been, up until that point and maybe even still today, about as American as a midfielder can get. I was more of a long-range guy who all of a sudden just got immersed in this lacrosse experience where any shot outside of eight yards was a bomb. So that took some getting used to, and I learned a lot from those guys in a short period of time.”
The following year, Ross was traded to the Boston Cannons where he would spend the next three seasons garnering 34 tallies, 11 assists and another championship win in 2011.
“After Toronto I was fortunate enough to be able to play close to where I live (I live in Providence now) with Boston,” Ross said about his experience with the Cannons. “It was a totally different experience in playing with some of these guys that I’ve been competing against since I was a little kid. Paul Rabil went to a rival high school and Kevin Buchanan, I can remember him playing in the Maryland senior All-State team, and Jordan Burke was my high school goalie. I’ve known Jordan since we were in first grade. So totally different experience there, and then to learn from Coach [Bill] Daye, I really was able to meet some quality people there.”
After the Cannons’ title victory in 2011 Ross was again traded, this time to the Rochester Rattlers for the 2012 season that saw him score ten goals and register two helpers. His increases in contributions to his team throughout his short-lived MLL career were attributed to becoming older, wiser and understanding the game more; instead of just working harder, Ross worked smarter.
Through his work with youth lacrosse teams as well as his foray into coaching at Bryant, Ross has continued to spread his love for the game with the next generation of lacrosse stars and has some advice for them.
“I think that the most important thing is to be honest with yourself and with your coaching and training staffs. As coaches, we have to be ultra aware of the games, but players have to look forward and be honest with themselves and be truthful to their coaches.”
Like so many professional athletes, Brad Ross is walking away, Unlike so many of those who have, he is doing so at the top of his game, leaving very little to imagination of what he could have accomplished.