There is one person who keeps Brett LeDrew motivated over the years, and that’s his sister Claire, who suffers from Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle bone disorder.
“She has a physical disability so she can’t really play sports,” said the fourth-year men’s volleyball player. “I didn’t want to take it for granted so I wanted to make the most of the opportunities. She inspired me to work hard for everything – she loves watching me play.”
But it’s also his cousin, a Memorial University Seahawk, who keeps him on his toes.
When first deciding which university to attend, LeDrew had to choose between Memorial University (MUN), Dalhousie University, or University of New Brunswick (UNB), but the program at UNB eventually won him over.
“I wanted to experience something outside of Newfoundland,” said LeDrew. “It seemed like UNB was a good balance of school and volleyball.”
The 21-year-old from Clarenville, Newfoundland has gone head to head with his cousin, a year older than him, who played in St. John’s, Newfoundland and now attends MUN as a fifth-year student and volleyball player.
“I’ve always looked up to him,” he said.
With both playing the middle position, and UNB and MUN scheduled to face off four times a year, the cousins have had plenty of opportunities to unveil their friendly rivalry.
“I’ve played against him a lot, so we get matched up quite a bit,” he joked. “It’s fun and I’ve got the better of him most times.”
While playing against each other since grade seven, LeDrew said he and his cousin have played their last game together – at least for now – as UNB defeated MUN in two back-to-back games at Memorial.
Going into his fifth year next year, extending his schedule to get the extra year of volleyball, LeDrew plays an important role on his team as an upper year student.
A fourth-year chemical engineering student and a senior on the team, LeDrew has learned how to balance his busy schedule to ensure he can perform well both in class and on the court.
With first-year players learning how to balance their own schedules, LeDrew tries to set a good example.
“I live with one rookie, Ryan Colpitts, so I try to show how to perform well in school and stay on top of things,” he said. “It’s important to show them good habits and hope they follow your lead.”
As he continues to be a leader on his team, LeDrew has one full year left.
Whether he continues with volleyball or heads straight into the workforce, he doesn’t know – he’s keeping his options open.