Jessica Brown reports:
Trey Couch, from Liberty Township, is only 12.
Yet on Monday he became youngest prospect ever signed to Xavier University’s mens basketball team. Sort of.
Trey signed a letter of intent Monday. It’s a mock letter – he won’t actually be playing for the team – but he will get some much-envied privileges, Coach Chris Mack said.
Trey, a rabid Musketeers fan – and of basketball in general – will get to watch practices, come to the games and hang with the guys in the locker room and adjoining lounge whenever he wants.
He gets the rare privilege because of a partnership between Xavier and Team IMPACT, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that matches seriously ill kids with college athletic teams. Its mission: improving the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses.
Trey, who attends Independence elementary school in the Lakota School District, was diagnosed in October 2010 with cerebellar degeneration, a neurodegenerative disease with no cure. The illness affects the cerebellum, the area of the brain that controls coordination and balance. Characteristic symptoms include an unsteady, lurching walk, jerky movements and slurred speech. So far it’s affected Trey’s limbs and most recently his eyes, causing focusing issues and blurred vision. Eventually it could progress to the point where he may need to use a wheelchair. “There’s no protocol for how fast he’ll deteriorate,” said his mother, Gina.
But on Monday, after taking in a practice and a huddle with the guys, he walked tall to the signing table and took his spot at the microphone.
“Sign by the X,” Mack instructed. Then he was showered with Xavier gear and it was official – almost. But first he had to answer some tough questions.
Posted in: Liberty Township |