Boy of 10 with Rare Disease Joins College Hockey Team

Ten-year-old Coleman Walsh always wanted to be a professional hockey player and now his dream has come true.
According to the Daily Mail, he just signed with the Massachusettss’s Babson College hockey team. The signing was organized by Team IMPACT who’s mission is to connect sick children to college sports teams.

Coleman suffers from Williams syndrome, a chronic and incurable illness that causes developmental delays, learning difficulties and growth abnormalities. Though there is no cure, cardiologists and therapists are working tirelessly to ease the pain and lessen their symptoms.

Williams syndrome forms when chromosome seven is either completely missing or partially formed which can cause low birth weight, unique facial features and a number of other side effects. It’s a genetic condition and Coleman has had it since he was born.

People that suffer from Williams are shorter and take longer to reach basic developmental milestones. They also suffer from anxiety, focus issues and have trouble sleeping.

Geneticists are usually the ones to diagnose the syndrome in young patients and perform an echocardiogram, a fancy word for an ultrasound. They also examine kidney abnormalities and conduct genetic tests through blood tests. Though patients sometimes have a short life span, some are able to live well into their 60’s.

Joint problems and skeletal abnormalities are of the plenty but Coleman won’t let that stop him from putting on a pair of ice skates and trying to slap his puck into a goal.

It seems like Williams syndrome patients experience all of the bad side effects that exist. But a more positive aspect of the syndrome is that patients are usually friendlier than most people, unafraid to talk to strangers

Coleman can now experience what it’s like to be a full fledge college hockey player. He’s been photographed on the ice and on the team’s portrait photo as an official member of the team. He can attend practice, games and even participate in team dinners and field trips.

Team IMPACT kept in mind his insatiable passion for hockey when assigning him to a sports team. The other teammates welcomed him among their own and are shepherding him on the ice. Through their love and support, Coleman feels like he is a part of a new family.


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