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(Neb)-CSC Men's Basketball Joins Team Impact  Listen

By: John Axtell Posted at: 10/24/2019 03:40 PM
CHADRON - Chadron State College yesterday publicly became part of Team Impact, a program aimed at improving the quality of life for children facing serious and chronic illness through the power of team, with an NCAA National Letter of Intent signing ceremony for Chadron High student Gabriel Blanford.

      16-year old Gabe was diagnosed 5 years ago with a neuro-muscular disease that has robbed him of speech and independent movement while leaving his mind unaffected. Through Team Impact, he's officially a member of the CSC men's basketball team for the next 2 years and will attend practices, games, team dinners, and other events.

      Eagles head coach Houston Reed says he was excited when he learned about Team Impact, a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston, seeing it as a way to help both kids like Gabriel and his players.

    Although the signing ceremony was yesterday, Gabe has actually attended practices and other activities for several months and Reed says his presence has been an inspiration to the players and coaches.

      Junior Brady Delimont, in particular, has grown close with Gabe and considers their relationship life-changing.

    PLAY SOUNDBITE

Yesterday's signing ceremony took place before a standing-room only crowd in the Owens-Nauslar conference room at the Chicoine Center that saw the full men's basketball team and members of other CSC teams spill out into the hallway.

     Gabe's family was there with his father Jason sitting next to him at the signing table. Jason, a maintenance repair worker at the college, says the Team Impact experience already means a lot to Gabe and the entire Blanford family.

      Team Impact began in 2011 and has matched over 1,900 children with more than 600 colleges and universities in 48 states, reaching over 55,000 participating student athletes.

      The child joins the athletic team and the student athletes join the child's support team. 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.


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