Friday, September 28, 2018

Field hockey athlete is a champ on high school and college fields by Matt Pascarella

Kayla Collins
High school junior Kayla Collins is on a roll; not only is she on Windham’s junior varsity field hockey team, but she was chosen as the Team IMPACT 2018 top recruit. On Thursday, September 20th, Collins was officially drafted to and became a member of the Saint Joseph’s College field hockey team.

Located in Boston, Team IMPACT’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing serious and chronic illnesses through the power of college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes.

Collins was diagnosed shortly after birth with a genetic disorder. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched over 1,500 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 48 states.

Throughout the season, both the high school recruit and the college student athletes learn invaluable lessons from each other; lessons and perspective that cannot be acquired in the classroom. While Collins will not play on the field at Saint Joseph’s College, she is very much a supportive member of the team; attending practices, games, team dinners, events and more.

Family friend Ali Peters met Collins through Boston Children’s Hospital. Peters ran as Collin’s Patient Partner through the ‘Miles for Miracles’ program in the 2017 Boston Marathon. Peters also knew of and had worked with Team IMPACT and thought it would be a great fit for Collins and her love of field hockey. When Saint Joseph’s College expressed an interest in having a Team IMPACT athlete, Collins was the perfect choice.

Collins has been a fan of field hockey since she began playing in seventh grade and she is very excited. “It feels good to join a college team,” she says.
“This will be a very positive relationship for both Kayla and the team; we are very excited to have [her] become part of our family,” commented Coach Rupert Lewis.

“It’s a relief for us to see her so relaxed and enjoying every minute with the team. We’re so grateful for this opportunity for her,” says mom Trista Collins.

“This gives Kayla something to get excited about while we continue to wait for treatment options for her,” Trista continued. “It also gives her a new setting to be herself in where she doesn’t have to try hard to fit in or keep up with everyone around her. This team is giving her freedom to have fun doing something she loves at another level while also learning from their college experiences on and off the field. She has some extraordinary college athletes on her team - now that are just a few miles away - rooting for her.”

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