Detroit Mechanix - 21st Athlete

Inspiring Resilience: Detroit Mechanix Honors the 21st Athlete

Introducing the concept of the "21st Athlete" to the Ultimate community, the Detroit Mechanix have embarked on a groundbreaking initiative that offers a unique opportunity to individuals whose Ultimate careers were cut short. This program allows these talented athletes to sign a special day contract, standing alongside the team, receiving well-deserved recognition, and fulfilling their dreams of being on a professional AUDL team. With only 20 players officially rostered on game day, the title "21st Athlete" signifies the honor bestowed upon these exceptional individuals, highlighting their resilience and bringing their remarkable stories to the forefront of the Ultimate world.

The Detroit Mechanix paid tribute to the inaugural honoree prior to their recent game against the Thunderbird on May 13th.. This broader initiative, dubbed the "Mechanix 21st Athlete", celebrated their spirit and resilience. Stephen Stanish, an exceptional player forced to retire due to severe injuries, was invited to join the team as the 21st rostered player for the evening. Stephen was joined by his brother, Caleb "Donkey" Stanish, to celebrate the moment.

The Mechanix recognized Stephen's collegiate and club Ultimate achievements, where he showcased his defensive prowess, relentless drive, and exceptional athleticism. Despite his career ending prematurely, Stephen's impact on the field was unforgettable. He stood out as a dominant force, motivating teammates with his positivity and productivity.

As proud supporters and teammates, the Detroit Mechanix emphasized their commitment to inclusivity by inviting Stephen to join their roster. This gesture highlighted the team's dedication to acknowledging athletes who faced unexpected challenges along their Ultimate journey. Stephen's presence embodied the resilience and strength that define the Ultimate community.

If you know someone like Stephen, an athlete whose Ultimate career was cut short, the Detroit Mechanix encourage you to share their stories and experiences. Connect with CJ Proos, the Mechanix Community Relations Director, or email By celebrating the achievements and journeys of all athletes, the Mechanix strive to foster a supportive and inclusive community.

The Mechanix 21st Athlete event exemplified the indomitable spirit of athletes who overcame setbacks in their pursuit of a professional Ultimate career. Through this initiative, the Detroit Mechanix honored Stephen Stanish and others like him, shedding light on their contributions and resilience. Join them in recognizing the unsung heroes of the Ultimate world, as their stories inspire generations to come.