“Play every game as if it’s your last.” The JM Dupree story: Overcoming Adversity

Battling adversity and overcoming the odds can be presented in many different ways. Especially, in the game of lacrosse. Whether it’s a team trailing in a game and they have to work together to make the comeback.

Or adversity can arrive if a player suffers a season – ending injury and the rehab it takes to get back to 100 %, or in John Michael (JM) Dupree’s case, overcoming a potential life-changing injury due to a freak accident.

JM Dupree has been one of the top midfielders in the South for the past few years. The standout senior has helped lead Porter Gaud H.S. (S.C.) to back – to – back state championships. And JM has been named All – SCISA Conference. While also performing on the summer recruiting tournament circuit with the Charleston Elite club program this summer as JM was a standout at the Epoch North American Showcase as well as a NIKE All Star. 

But when JM was 15 years old he went to the beach and he was going into the ocean for a swim and as he dove into a wave he wasn’t aware of the undertow and went head first into the ocean floor. Resulting in a broken neck. 

Dupree had to be airlifted to the closest trauma center. 


The term medicine game isn’t just a term when referring to lacrosse. It truly is a game that helps to heal and inspire.

The summer JM suffered this accident was when he was starting out with the Charleston Elite program. 

“We had no idea how he would come back and what to expect.  When he finally started playing we saw the athlete he was and the potential he had to play at the next level,” said Greer Hanlon of Charleston Elite.  “He worked hard off the field to increase his muscle mass and speed and has continued that.  He is a great inspiration to our players and a great leader of what hard work can get you.”

A mixture of rehab, determination and support from the entire lacrosse community drove JM to get back on his feet and walking.

Returning to play lacrosse was far from JM’s mindset. “Well, I basically had to like reteach myself how to walk, put on my clothes, brush my teeth, brush my hair, all the essentials, things like living. So I never really thought lacrosse was going to be a big thing in my life again.”

“But then the doctor told me I could play lacrosse.

“(the accident) really taught me like the life lesson of a never (take anything for granted), and to play every game as if it’s your last. really. You know, that’s what that really taught me.”

“After JMs accident his lacrosse family from all over South Carolina came together to support him and help him get back to be able to play his best lacrosse,” said JM’s mother. “It was absolutely amazing the players and coaches that came forward to help him and a pivotal moment in his athletic career deciding to just focus on lacrosse 100%.”

JM is now college bound as the Porter Gaud senior is bound for Sewanee University of the South.

“(We’re) so very proud of JM for choosing to play lacrosse at one of the nations most prestigious liberal arts colleges! I can’t wait to watch the Tigers play!”

Here’s a Q&A we did with JM about his decision to play college lacrosse at Sewanee University of the South.


PLB: What made you choose this school?

John Michael: The school campus caught my eye with it natural beauty, and great community. 


PLB: How has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected you?

JM: It’s taught me a valuable lesson of self improvement, and learning more about myself. Due to being on zoom all the time, and in quarantine it gave me a lot of time to work on myself to get better at the things I love like lacrosse. 

PLB: How would you describe your recruiting process?

JM: My recruiting process had ups and downs just like everyone else’s. Of course their were schools that rejected me, and things that didn’t work out, in the end I found a school that was the perfect fit for me. It really taught me that everything works out the way it should.

PLB: What kind of stick do you play with?

JM: Dragon fly/ Kinetik head 

PLB: Favorite Quotes that You Live By?

JM: “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” – Elon Musk 

PLB: What do you do for fun?

JM: Hangout with my friends, go on the boat

PLB: What do you want to be when you grow up? And Why?

JM: I want to do something in bio tech because of my love for biology and computer science. Growing up I have always love biology and human anatomy and it has been a strong passion of mine especially because of my accident. 

PLB: Where would you like to visit?

JM: Greece

PLB: Favorite Song?

JM: Blue world by Mac Miller

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