7-year-old boy joins Brown University basketball team
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- The Brown University men's basketball team welcomed its newest--and youngest--player Tuesday night.
"It was pretty apparent right away he was going to be a great fit for our program," said Head Coach Mike Martin.
Martin is talking about seven-year-old Christian Berardi from North Providence, who officially signed his letter of intent with the Brown Bears.
"Well it's a great day," said Berardi. "Yeah, I'm excited."
Berardi is battling an immune disease called eosinophilic esophagitis, and was connected with the team by the local nonprofit Team Impact.
"All towards reaching the goal of these kids having an incredible experience that gives them that optimism and confidence during such a hard time," said Shanna Gershman of Team Impact.
After taking a team photo, Berardi went straight to his first practice, as the Bears strategized for Friday's game against UMass Lowell.
"They better watch out," said Berardi.
This is a two-year commitment, which means Berardi is welcome at all games and practices, and his new teammates will join him to celebrate his birthday, even go trick-or-treating with him on Halloween.
"The fact that the Brown basketball team was able to do this for him and just give him a sense of normalcy, give him a sense of being a child," said Berardi's mom Mary Hillman. "It's really been so amazing."
While the other players may teach Berardi a few things about the game, the lessons they're learning from him may be even more profound.
"I think we can all take some things from him-his determination, his grit, his drive and his positive attitude," said senior Obi Okolie.
Asked about his new teammates, Berardi told us, "They're actually perfect. They're one strong team."
And now, they're an even stronger team.
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