NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College men's basketball team made an addition to its roster this week, welcoming 15-year-old Giovanni Torrealba to the program for the 2017-18 season.
The Mariners "drafted" Giovanni, who hails from East Haddam, Conn., prior to Monday's practice session. His mother, Kim, and his stepfather, Steve, were on hand for the event, which was made possible by Team IMPACT. Team IMPACT is a national organization that connects children facing serious and chronic illnesses to local college athletic teams, with the goals of forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes.
"It's an honor and a privilege to be selected to participate in Team IMPACT," said Mitchell head coach Todd Peretz. "It's a program we've always wanted to get involved with here at Mitchell, and we're excited to have Giovanni in our program."
As the newest member of the Mariners, Giovanni will visit the team for practices and games, as well as have access to team-only activities. His new teammates will keep in touch via social media and texts, and during the offseason they can schedule off-campus visits, trips and activities.
Giovanni was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) when he was a year old. CP is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood, and children with CP have a wide variety of difficulties.
Team IMPACT is a 501(c)3 non-profit chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses. Across the country the organization creates unparalleled team based support systems for these children and their families. Core to its model is harnessing the power of teamwork by matching these courageous kids with college athletic teams. Team IMPACT children are drafted onto local athletic teams and, to the greatest extent possible, become an official member of the team from Draft Day until Graduation.