Courtesy of Trinity Sports Information
HARTFORD, Conn. - On Wednesday, March 27 in the Life Science Building Auditorium, the Trinity College Football squad held a signing ceremony to welcome a Team IMPACT member to its roster. The Bantams, which has had two Team IMPACT members join the program in past years, is now once again one of many Trinity teams to work with Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization that assigns children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses to collegiate sports teams, allowing each child attend practices, games, and other team events that allow them to build relationships with the players and coaches and give them the full experience of being a part of a team.
Trinity Football's Team IMPACT member is Evan St. Amand, a 14-year old boy from West Hartford, Conn., who is battling three incurable diseases. The most impactful of the three is mitochondrial disease, a disorder that causes dysfunction among energy producing cells in the body's most crucial organs. Despite his struggles, Evan entered the auditorium at the start of the ceremony with a big smile on his face, proud to be wearing a personalized Trinity Football jersey with No. 1 on the back. The room was packed with a majority of the Trinity Football team, the coaching staff, administration from the Trinity athletic department, Team IMPACT representatives, and a WFSB Channel 3 television news crew covering the event.
WFSB CHANNEL 3 COVERAGE
Head Coach Jeff Devanney introduced Evan to the crowd as a kid with an awesome personality who will play a crucial role in teaching the team more about perspective. "Today is a big day for Trinity Football," he started. "We're here signing a big recruit sitting next to me. We have a very talented class coming next year who will contribute on the field, but this guy right here is going to help us off the field in a way no one else can. He is positive, and he knows that life will not always work out the way we want. This guy doesn't focus on the negatives because he knows that won't do anything for him, and he is going to teach the rest of us how to do that too."
Junior Koby Schofer represented the team and sat on the dais at the front of the room with Coach Devanney, Evan, and Evan's mother, Shari. After Devanney spoke, Koby turned towards Evan and stated "We'd like to welcome to our family, Evan. You're a smart and strong kid and I know we will learn some great lessons from you. We're all looking forward to building this relationship." In response, Evan enthusiastically stated "Awesome, thanks man," and then signed his contract. As everyone observing broke out into applause, there was not a single person in the room without a smile on his or her face. Everyone glad to be experiencing the beginning of this larger-than-life experience. Several players who have already gotten to know Evan over the past few weeks then stood up to take some photos with him.
Amongst the players was first-year Tommy Walsh who reflected on the ceremony and has great expectations for the future of Evan and the team. "Evan is a unique and inspiring kid. He has so much energy, he's outgoing, and has already made an impact on all of us. The team is so excited to add such an amazing person to our family," he explained.
Following the ceremony, the team presented Evan with a backpack full of Bantam Football gear, and then excitedly led him to the Ferris Athletic Center to show him his own personal locker in the team's locker room. The eagerness and enthusiasm to get things going between Evan and the team and start really getting to know each other was evident throughout the ceremony. Both sides are looking forward to using the spirit of athletics as the common ground for the hopeful and exciting chapter that lays ahead.
Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,700 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 49 states, reaching over 50,000 participating student-athletes. The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child's support team. Throughout the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie and support while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective they can't learn in a classroom.