Xavier men’s basketball head coach Chris Mack signed a 12-year-old to a National Letter of Intent today.
But before you get all up in arms about that being an NCAA violation, consider the circumstances.
The signee, Trey Couch, has cerebellar degeneration — a disease in which the neurons in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls motor skills and balance, deteriorate and die.
There is currently no cure for Couch’s condition, so he was matched up with Xavier University through a non-profit organization called “Team IMPACT.”
Team IMPACT’s goal is to match sick children with teams in their area to “help the children get through their physical and psychological challenges.”
Couch will attend practices and games and participates as if he were a member of the team. In the players’ eyes, he is.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join my new teammates in the locker room and on the court,” Couch told WCPO Cincinnati.
“This is a great opportunity for our team,” Mack said in a statement. “Sometimes we look at our everyday challenges and think we have it tough. We try to teach our student-athletes that there are a lot stiffer challenges that other people have to face.”