Boston College announces addition of Quinn Amsler to program

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The Team IMPACT foundation was created to match up children facing life-threatening illnesses with college sports programs, with both sides benefitting from the connection. While the child gets the experience of being part of a team, which can also boost morale as they fight illness, the team benefits as well from connecting with someone who can serve as an inspiration.

The latest to benefit is the Boston College men’s basketball program, which on Friday announced that it has “drafted” 9-year old Quinn Amsler to its team.

Amsler was diagnosed with sarcoma in April, and a bad reaction to chemotherapy treatments resulted in a hospital stay that spanned multiple months. Amsler is currently undergoing physical therapy and chemotherapy, and Boston College head coach Jim Christian wasted no time in making the youngster a part of the program.

“Sometimes you just meet a young person and you know they have the qualities you want,” Christian said in the release. “We want toughness. We want young people who understand that when adversity hits, you tackle it head on with a positive attitude.

“And then you want to be an inspiration for others. There was no doubt in my mind that when we met Quinn, that he is what we want in this program.”

The Eagles, who with the addition of Amsler are now up to nine newcomers on their 2015-16 roster, open the regular season November 14 against St. Francis-Brooklyn.

Video credit: Boston College Athletics

15-year old cancer patient to play for Bellarmine in Sunday’s exhibition at Louisville

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Sunday afternoon the Louisville Cardinals will play their second exhibition of the 2014-15 season, hosting Bellarmine University at the KFC Yum! Center. Rick Pitino’s team will face a special opponent on Sunday as well, with 15-year old Patrick McSweeney joining the Bellarmine roster according to Dana O’Neil of

McSweeney, nicknamed the “Fighting Irishman” by his family, is fighting leukemia for the third time in his young life. And thanks to the Team IMPACT program he’ll go through a full day with Bellarmine head coach Scott Davenport’s team, including participating in their pregame meal, riding to the arena with the team and he’ll be in their starting lineup as well.

“Patrick was just speechless,” Debbie McSweeney, Patrick’s mother, said. “Basketball is this kid’s favorite sport. Having Bellarmine, having something that’s normal, that’s the key. With all of these treatments, all the isolation, normal disappears.”

McSweeney will take part in the entire day – from the pregame meal, to the walkthrough, to the bus ride to the arena, to, if all goes well, the first bucket.

“He’s going to blow by Terry Rozier, go by Chris Jones and score a layup,’’ Davenport said. “We’ll just be sure to tell Montrezl Harrell not to block it.”

Also of note is the fact that, with McSweeny scheduled for an experimental treatment on Monday, Pitino has taken care of the family’s airfare, hotel room and transportation in Philadelphia. The treatment, according to the story, is reserved for patients who have not responded to chemotherapy.

This event is a great gesture on the part of both the Bellarmine and Louisville programs, and here’s to hoping that Patrick McSweeny beats cancer once and for all.

VCU announces addition of 17-year old Morgan Vega to basketball program (VIDEO)

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The VCU basketball program announced an important addition Thursday, with head coach Shaka Smart welcoming 17-year old Morgan Vega to the program. The connection came to be thanks to the Team Impact program, which connects children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses with college athletic programs. Vega, a longtime fan of VCU basketball, suffers from cerebral palsy.

During the press conference Smart introduced to the assembled media not only Vega but his mother and younger brother as well. And with the entire team in attendance Vega signed his National Letter of Intent, thus becoming a member of the VCU program. Above is a video of the event, courtsey of VCU Athletics.

H/T VCU Ram Nation

Rutgers announces addition of 11-year old Sean Moffitt to program

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Thursday was a special day for the Rutgers basketball program, as head coach Eddie Jordan announced an addition to the team roster. This isn’t your standard addition either, with the questions about what the newcomer can provide focusing on scoring, rebounding and other basketball-specific categories. The addition is 11-year old Sean Moffitt, who signed a letter of intent to become a Scarlet Knight though the Boston-based Team IMPACT charity.

Shortly after his birth Sean, who was born with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, suffered a stroke which resulted in his having limited use of his right arm and right leg. In a story written by Jerry Carino of MyCentralJersey, Moffitt’s mother discussed not only the impact of the stroke on Sean’s mobility, but also how special of an occasion this is for the lifelong Rutgers fan.

“This is really amazing for him,” mom Beth Moffitt said. “He may not have the opportunity to be on a college basketball team. And he’s always wanted brothers.”

Though Sean has limited use of his right arm and right leg, he gets around pretty well with the leg in a brace.

“He can’t tie his shoes, can’t hold a fork and a knife, things we take for granted every day, but he’s a fighter,” Beth Moffitt said. “If someone says he can’t do something, he finds a way to do it.”

During the summer Moffitt was visited by three Rutgers players, forwards Junior Etou, Kadeem Jack and Greg Lewis, and according to the school release they are his three favorite players. Head coach Eddie Jordan, who presented Moffitt with his own jersey at the press conference, stated that Sean will be able to attend practices and games whenever he wants.

With Sean and his family living in nearby North Brunswick, hopefully Moffitt can attend practices and games on a regular basis. Because for as much of a benefit as a situation like this is for the child, it benefits the players and coaches as well.

Bradley signs preteen brothers for a good cause


No, this is not another story of recruiting gone bad. It’s the rare recruiting gone very right tale.

On Friday, kindergartner Johnah Sahrs and his nine-year-old brother Jarrett signed letters of intent to join the Bradley Braves for the 2013-14 season. Johnah is battling the life-threatening condition neuroblastoma and his older brother has been doing what brothers do – helping his sibling get through the tough times. The brothers were introduced to the Braves by Team Impact, a non-profit organization that gets sick kids together with their favorite college teams.

Bradley’s website went the whole nine yards, announcing the signing in a non-ironic press release that could touch the coldest heart.

A 3-foot-4-inch guard, Johnah Sahrs will wear uniform number 1.  He becomes both the youngest and the shortest player in Bradley Basketball history.  Standing 4-foot-5-inches, Jarret Sahrs will wear uniform number 32.  Senior guard Mason Alwan, sophomore guard Anthony Fields, senior center Jordan Prosser and freshman guard Jordan Swopshire gave the Sahrs brothers a tour of the Renaissance Coliseum facilities prior to the signing ceremony and will serve as their primary team mentors throughout the season.

Whenever someone tries to tell you sports don’t matter, this is just one story that will prove them wrong. If they persist, show them the video evidence.

Here’s hoping the Sahrs brothers enjoy their season on the Bradley bench and that Johnah makes a complete recovery.