BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University baseball team welcomed seven-year old Ian Rutherford as its newest team member on Saturday afternoon at a special Signing Day event.
Ian was officially welcomed to the Bears' baseball program during a draft party held in the Adrian Tinsley Center Conference Room on the BSU campus. The team had a chance to greet Ian and his family, and present him with an official team hat, BSU t-shirts and other Bear gear.
Ian, who will join the Bears during the upcoming spring baseball season, was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia back in 2011. Biliary Atresia is a rare liver disease that occurs in infants.
"Bridgewater State baseball is excited to have added Ian and the Rutherford family to the team," said BSU Head Coach Greg Zackrison. "Ian always has a huge smile and gets so excited around the guys and we couldn't be happier about his addition to the roster."
"I'm hoping Ian adds a little power to the lineup and some inspiration as we get ready for the season," Zackrison added. "Go Bears!"
The match between Ian and Bridgewater State University came about from the work of Team IMPACT, 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.
Ian is currently in the first grade, enjoys math at school and is learning to ice skate. He is a big fan of Star Wars, Legos, dinosaurs and How to Train Your Dragon. Ian was thrilled when the Patriots just recently won their sixth Super Bowl and his favorite player is Tom Brady.
"We are so excited to be able to draft Ian onto the Bears baseball team," said BSU Director of Athletics Dr. Marybeth Lamb. "His contributions to the program will no doubt help drive the team forward towards a successful season."
"I know Coach Zackrison is excited to have Ian as his newest addition to the team," Lamb added.
ABOUT TEAM IMPACT:
Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston, Mass. 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.