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Teen with rare condition scores special goal for Ladue High School field hockey team

Molly Katzman was born 18 years ago with fragile X syndrome. Earlier this month, two teams came together to get her a very special goal

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Ladue High School has some wonderful athletes. Perhaps, the most amazing is a senior field hockey player who has scored just one goal in her career. However, that goal had many of her teammates, friends and family in tears.

Molly Katzman was born 18 years ago with fragile X syndrome. It’s a genetic mutation of the X chromosome. It’s estimated to occur in 0.9% of females. It causes learning disabilities and social and behavior issues. Molly’s mother Rachel remembered the day well. 

“It’s heartbreaking," she said. "You have a grieving process. There is a sense of loss. You do everything you can to give your kid the opportunities that a typical kid would have."

Her father, Andy, said there was never anger.

“I felt more what can we do to solve it," he said. "As we got older, it became obvious you work with it the best way you can with the resources you have. We have set up a real positive environment. We embrace life. Molly embraces life. It makes it fun. There’s a lot of smiling that goes on around Molly.”

Molly has never met a stranger. She will strike up a conversation at the ice cream store at the soccer tournament or all practice long with her teammates on the Ladue field hockey team.

She has been on the Ladue team for 4 years. She wears her uniform to school on game days. She has it on every game day by 6:30 a.m.

And her passion goes beyond the hallways.

“She brings the energy everywhere and you can’t go anywhere without you hearing her cheering you on," teammate Julia Tullman said. "This team would not be the same without Molly. I think she is a huge part of the community.  She is just Molly. She is the best of the best.”

Molly has a passion for field hockey, and it runs in the family. Her sister Lilly was a star player at Northwestern. Molly used to bring her stick her sister’s game to cheer her on.

So on Sept. 9, Ladue field hockey coach Linda Porter had an idea. She wanted to get Molly a goal in a game. She cleared with their opponent, Villa and they were happy to be a part of it. 

“My goal is to get Molly in as much as possible this year," Porter said. "It means so much to us and to Molly.”

When she got onto the field, there wasn’t a dry eye on the field or in the stands. When Molly scored, the crowd started chanting, “Molly, Molly.”

Andy said on the way home after the game, Molly asked if she could score another goal in the next game.

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