‘Don't take life for granted’: 9-year-old girl with cerebral palsy drafted to NJ college basketball team
A 9-year-old girl with cerebral palsy was drafted to the Caldwell University Women's Basketball Team Tuesday, and it’s all part of a Boston nonprofit called Team IMPACT.
The Cougars and Sarah Garry, of Boonton, connected through the nonprofit, which pairs children battling illnesses with college sports teams. It's a symbiotic relationship where the athletes teach the little girl about teamwork and she teaches them about resiliency.
The signing makes it official. Sarah goes to practices, team dinners and games.
"We did the national anthem before the game and Sarah lined up at the game with us," says head coach Torey Northup Jones.
"Sarah was a victim of child abuse,” says Linda Garry, Sarah’s mother. “She has a severe brain injury. She was in a coma for two months. She had 27 broken bones."
A retired pediatric nurse and her husband adopted Sarah.
"We said okay, we'll take care of her until you find her a new home,” says Linda. “But she was with us about five minutes and we knew she was home."
Sarah found her home and now has her team where she plays life coach.
"I tell them every day don't take life for granted, don't take opportunities for granted,” says Jones. “So, to have her be a part of us, her being at practice, her being at games, I think it just makes them value life even more."
Team IMPACT is a two-year program, but the Cougars say they'll continue their relationship with Sarah well beyond that.