Cooper Martin, a courageous six-year old boy from Acton, Massachusetts, was drafted by the Tufts University baseball team on Friday (Oct. 20) at the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center.
Cooper and the team were connected through Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization which works to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by pairing them with collegiate athletic teams.
The Jumbos staged an official NCAA Baseball draft to welcome Cooper, with members of the team playing a variety of roles. Senior Boomer Saraga served as the master of ceremonies. After making a brief introduction, he turned it over to senior Sid Warrenbrand for an ESPN-like analysis of Cooper's draft potential. Warrenbrand introduced a video where a team of analysts - Jumbos Ian Kinney, Malcolm Nachmanoff, Mike McLaughlin and Hayden Gruber - confirmed that Cooper was the consensus number one draft pick. Warrenbrand also invited crowd participation, with a few Jumbo alumni who were attending the event reiterating Cooper's qualifications as the #1 draft pick. With senior Nick Falkson playing the role of commissioner, senior Tommy O'Hara delivered the Jumbos' pick to the podium where Falkson officially announced Cooper as Tufts' top choice.
Upon being introduced as the #1 selection, Cooper was presented a Tufts baseball jersey and hat by head coach John Casey. Cooper was joined at the head table by his sister Gracie, mother Jen and father Ripley. Cooper signed a letter of intent with the Jumbos to make if official.
A first-grader, Cooper has been battling Medulloblastoma, a brain tumor near the base of his skull, which was diagnosed in 2016. Through Team IMPACT's program at Tufts, the team's "top recruit" will become an official member of the Jumbos' baseball team. As a part of the program, Cooper will attend practices, games, dinners, events, and more.
"Cooper is an amazing kid and we're happy to have him as part of our team," Coach Casey said. "He has already become a big part of what we do and we look forward to having him in the dugout once the season gets started."
Building upon a partnership that began in 2011, Coopper is one of 11 Team IMPACT teammates who have been drafted by the Jumbos. Friends as students at Tufts in the late 1980s, Jay Calnan, Kris Herman, Dan Kraft, Robert Tishman and Dan Walsh helped found Team IMPACT. Learn more about the organization at http://www.goteamimpact.org/.