MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – On Saturday, Sept. 10th, the Wesleyan University football team welcomed its newest member to the program, 10-year old Michael from Team IMPACT.
Michael, from Cromwell, Conn., was born with an immune dysfunction and is blind in one eye. He also suffers from cardiac issues, developmental delays and cognitive impairments. Michael started speaking at 4.5 years old and took his first step at 2.5. He now walks independently and has scoliosis in his spine. Because of his immune deficiency, he is very susceptible to getting sick.
Partnering with Team IMPACT, whose focus is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team, the Cardinals made Michael apart of their team.
Wesleyan's leadership group, which consists of seniors Ike Fuchs, Shane Jenkins and Jordan Stone, junior Jake Cronin and Khephren Spigner, and sophomores Ryan Earle, Isaiah Thomas, came together and came up with the idea to officially draft Michael before the teams' intrasquad scrimmage. The Cardinals created a tunnel of players for Michael to run through, where he would meet Head Coach Dan DiCenzo at the 50-yard line. From there, DiCenzo handed him a jersey and hat, and named him the team's official No. 1 draft pick.
The leadership group also thought of the idea to run a play for Michael near the end of scrimmage, in which they handed him the ball as the 10-year old ran into the endzone for a touchdown.
Prior to preseason, Michael visited campus with his mother, Meg, father, Bob, and sister, Emma. During his first trip, he took a tour of the facilities and got acquainted with his new teammates. He also stopped by the Cardinals' first practice of preseason, and later, his new teammates took him to dinner in Usdan.