ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona men's basketball landed its most important recruit for the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, when 11-year-old Teagan Imler signed his letter of intent during a ceremony in the Adler Athletic Complex to officially become a member of the program.
Imler, of Everett, Pa., was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2013. Through Team IMPACT, a national nonprofit organization that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, Imler was matched with the Penn State Altoona men's basketball program. Now, as an official member of the team, he will regularly attend practices, games, team meals, and other events throughout the 2018-19 season.
Imler made his membership of the Lions basketball team official at a signing day ceremony this past Tuesday, when he was joined by friends and family alongside Penn State Altoona coaches, players, and staff.
"A couple months ago, Team IMPACT reached out to us and told us about a recruit who we needed to talk to. We got in touch with Teagan, and we knew that it would be a natural fit," said Penn State Altoona Director of Athletics Brent Baird. "We're excited to have Teagan come on board with our team."
Team IMPACT, which is headquartered in Boston, has matched nearly 1,600 children with more than 500 colleges and universities around the country. Their aim is to foster a mutually-beneficial situation, where children afflicted by serious illnesses gain strength, camaraderie, and support while the college student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency, and perspective.
"Teagan shows the resilience to continue to battle and be positive, and that's something that I think our team can learn from. We're hoping that we get to learn from Teagan and how he uses his resilience to help us when we're not having such good days," said Penn State Altoona head men's basketball coach David McGreal. "We hope that Teagan enjoys being part of our team, but we're also happy and blessed to be part of his team and his family. We'll probably learn more from him than he'll learn from us."
Teagan's involvement with the Penn State Altoona men's basketball program will continue when the team begins its official practices in October, and he will begin attending other team-related functions – including games – as the season progresses.