BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A special press conference at University at Buffalo celebrated the draws of being part of a team. The UB softball squad welcomed a 12-year-old girl to their ranks.
The new recruit was energetic, buzzing and excited. And with good reason; she was signed to a college sports team six years before most athletes. Maddie Nadrich suffers from severe, chronic illnesses, but nobody would be able to tell that from her time on stage.
She answered questions from reporters as she signed her commitment letter in front of a room full of reporters and her teammates. Nadrich downplayed what holds her back and hailed what is keeping her moving forward.
“As soon as I met them, they were like, ‘Hey, hey, hey you want to go get some food? Okay let’s go!'” Nadrich recounted.
Nadrich continues battling her illnesses on a daily basis, and that’s something her team is taking away from their interactions with the pre-teen.
“She’s a fighter, and that’s something as a coaching staff we’re preaching to our team,” Trena Peel, Head Coach of UB’s softball team, said.
Nadrich’s mother Susan Nadrich said the experience is exactly what her daughter needed to overcome certain challenges.
“This is just the boost she needed. When she gets down, frustrated with her illness, the team lifts her up,” she said. “It’s now wonderful that she’s part of something bigger than just herself.”
The 12-year-old donned her new UB uniform while grinning, pondering her future as a catcher. She said she’s excited to be involved, and she looks forward to throwing out the first pitch of one of the softball games in the near future.
“When you work together as a team you can get one goal or many goals accomplished and all of your teammates will just pick you up,” Nadrich said.
Team Impact helped organize the event with University at Buffalo. Impact helps children with illnesses match up with college teams. In 2011 Impact matched more than 600 children with college teams in 42 states. The students got to work with 20,000 athletes.