EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – For anyone who has played softball at SIUE, they know it is synonymous with a family atmosphere. The SIUE softball family grew by one person Thursday when the Cougars signed 6-year-old Karlie Maine to a National Letter of Intent.
Maine, of Alhambra, Illinois, has battled myriad medical issues and now joins SIUE softball as part of Team IMPACT. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,300 children facing serious or chronic illnesses with more than 500 colleges and universities in 47 states, reaching more than 35,000 participating student-athletes.
"Any time you have an opportunity for your team to participate in the enrichment of another person's life, that's really important," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery.
With the official signing Thursday, Maine and her family gain an SIUE softball team full of partners ready to provide emotional support. Throughout this journey, the goal is to give Maine camaraderie, strength and support. For the SIUE softball team, it's an opportunity to bond with someone who already has lived day-to-day courageously and with resilience.
"We're excited to have an impact on Karlie's life," said Niehaus, a freshman from Mt. Olive, Illinois. "It will allow her to step out of all of her medical concerns, get to have fun and just be a kid."
"I love being around kids, and I have two younger siblings so being around her is like having my little sister around me," said Cobb-Adams, a freshman from Kapolei, Hawaii.
Maine already has visited Cougar Field and spent some time with the softball team at SIUE's Fulginiti Indoor facility.
"She is the happiest and so outgoing," said Schafer, a redshirt sophomore from Noblesville, Indiana. "I'm super excited to be able to work with her and have this opportunity."
"She is very active and loves to run around," added Curtis, a sophomore from Helena, Alabama. "She's very energetic, and I love that about her."
Thursday's signing event is just the start for Maine.
"We've extended the invitation for Karlie and her family to be at as many events as she wants, whether it be practices, games or team meals," said Montgomery. "We expect her to be a fixture around our clubhouse and around our team for the next two years. At that time, she will get to experience "Senior Day" with her teammates."
If you know a child who may be interested in Team IMPACT, visit www.goteamimpact.org for more information.