It’s fair to describe Jason Kolar as a high-energy guy. Get him excited about something he loves, like lacrosse, and words flow in a rapid staccato, each trying to outpace the last.
That’s what made his freshman season at the University of Delaware a trial as well as a valuable lesson on his sense of self-worth.
Last year as fall workouts began, Kolar was another hungry freshman trying to earn a spot on the field. A speedy midfielder, or “middie,” he attempted a move one day against one of his team’s better defenders and felt a tinge of pain in his lower right leg.
It was diagnosed as a stress injury to his fibula. In an early December drill, he felt a sharper pain in the same area. This time it came back as a stress fracture.
Kolar took advantage of the Christmas break to rest up and let the leg heal. He missed a few preseason games, but into the season it appeared he was back on track. Kolar had achieved his goal in getting playing time his freshman year, but he knew after his eighth game that something was wrong with his leg again, as now he was experiencing pain in in the upper part of the fibula.
An MRI revealed the news: Stress fracture. Season over.
“I’d had injuries, but nothing like this,” he said. “When you experience one in college, it’s different. It takes a mental toll. You start worrying if you’re going to lose your spot on the field because you’ve been battling for it every day in practice.”
But his sidelining from the lacrosse pitch also led him back to some spiritual mentors he’d gained through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes a few years ago.
Kolar fell in love with lacrosse during his freshman year at Urbana High School in Ijamsville, Maryland. He became more serious about his faith and that March prayed to begin a genuine, personal relationship with Christ. That summer, he joined an FCA Huddle, though while God was nudging him to more boldness in his faith, “there was still a part of me that might care [what others thought].”
“[That season] gave me a change of heart. My role as a teammate changed. Even though I couldn’t make an impact on the field, I gave water to everyone, I collected equipment; I learned to serve others as Christ would have." -Jason Kolar
Those concerns diminished when he noticed other athletes in FCA, leaders on their teams who were unashamed about their relationship with Christ. By his senior year in 2021, Kolar and his twin brother, Eric, were using the FCA Daily Impact Play to lead Urbana’s Huddle. They also led the Hawks’ lacrosse team to a 9-0 record and state championship with both earning All-American honors.
In the summer between high school and college, Kolar was an FCA intern, leading at various camps and building relationships with FCA leaders. Those proved vital as he struggled through his injuries.
“I was fortunate enough to have FCA contacts like [Delaware State Director] Nick Richmond and [Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of International Advancement] Mark Stephens help me through,” said Kolar.
Stephens also led a Sunday night Huddle that Kolar and his brother, who now plays lacrosse for the University of Maryland, attended at Urbana.
Currently, Kolar is preparing for his comeback sophomore season. That preparation will include lessons he might not have learned had it not been for his injuries.
“[That season] gave me a change of heart. My role as a teammate changed,” he said. “Even though I couldn’t make an impact on the field, I gave water to everyone, I collected equipment; I learned to serve others as Christ would have.
“I was reminded that while I’m grateful to be at school and blessed to play this sport, it’s not everything I am,” Kolar added. “We’re given our platform to glorify God.”
Slowing down to recover and get back to his spiritual roots has helped heal and embolden Kolar in ways he never imagined. While sidelined, his self-worth solidified, and perspective shifted to serving like Christ.
He still has that high energy, though. It’s just redirected to wherever God wants to use it.
Want to learn more and get involved with FCA with the University of Delaware? Reach out to Nick Richmond at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit here.