Florida Tech Panthers Introduce Pair of Special Signees, 12-Year-Old and 7-Year-Old Brothers
By Florida Tech // February 18, 2016
Two highly sought-after recruits
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA- Two highly sought-after recruits officially found new homes Tuesday when brothers Christopher Patterson, 7, and Sean Patterson, 12, committed to Florida Tech. Their signing process was a bit more special, however.
The Patterson’s, from nearby Palm Bay, both suffer from immunodeficiency disorders. Sean, more specifically, has been fighting Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID), a disorder that impairs the immune system and makes him more susceptible to infections and viruses.
Both were able to put their illnesses aside for a bit Tuesday evening, though. With the help of Team IMPACT, a national organization, Christopher was welcomed by the men’s soccer squad, while Sean was introduced by the Florida Tech baseball team in front of a jam-packed audience at the Varsity Training Center on campus.
Each team presented the youngsters with a variety of hats, jerseys and warm-up gear before opening up question and answer sessions to the lively audience.
Younger brother Christopher appeared more focused on chatting about Captain America, cheeseburgers and his favorite movie, Big Hero 6, whereas Sean had already mastered the big-league mindset, declining an autograph from Florida Tech infielder Trent Masih.
Sean even discussed his first batting practice experience with the Panthers in which Florida Tech head coach Greg Berkemeier apparently tested his toughness by plunking him on the very first pitch.
“I think he did it on purpose,” the 12-year old said.
On a more serious note, Berkemeier is very grateful for the opportunity for both himself and his players.
“So many doors are opened to you in terms of being able to give back to the community,” he said. “Team IMPACT does such a great job with kids. They’re such deserving families and such deserving kids.
You just want to be there for them and do anything you can. It’s been a great experience for us so far. Sean’s a great kid and we’re really pleased to have someone like him and his family around. It’s a natural fit.”
The special moment was fulfilling for the Patterson’s, but also for many of the Florida Tech players who were thrilled to finally see their new teammates put their jerseys on for the first time.
“It’s been great since day one,” said men’s soccer forward Adin Kavara. “It puts perspective on life, especially when things weren’t going our way this season, he was the one pushing us to give a little extra. I think he’s tough, tougher than anyone on our team. He goes through a lot more than any of us can even imagine.”
Team IMPACT improves the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team. Drafted children become official members of their team from draft day through to graduation.
Through a structured relationship management methodology, the organization establishes and cultivates these relationships to ensure a successful experience for the families and teams involved.
“It’s a special experience,” Kavara added. “Definitely something we can take with us the rest of our lives.”