BUFFALO, NY – Prior to the University at Buffalo's final spring football scrimmage on Friday night, head coach Lance Leipold held a press conference announcing the signing of the Bulls newest team member, Peyton Longo. The 16-year-old from Cheektowaga signed with the Bulls through a program called Team IMPACT.
Peyton suffers from a neuromuscular disease called Bethlem Myopathy – a form of muscular dystrophy. An honor roll student, Peyton loves to follow UB Athletics as well as the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He not only attends football practices and games, but also spends time with team members playing video games.
"All the guys have been really incredibly nice and accepting and it's been great," Peyton said.
The relationship between Peyton and the Bulls is all made possible by Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization that helps children forget about their illness and become part of something bigger, a team of friends.
"It's a great opportunity for our players to interact with Peyton and they really enjoy having him around," Leipold said. "He's been here every day he says he's going to be here watching practice, no matter the weather. It shows his dedication. I think it's awesome to have somebody who wants to be part of our program just as much as we want to be part of his."
ABOUT TEAM IMPACT:
Team IMPACT is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team. Team IMPACT children are drafted on to college athletic teams, local to where they live and, in effect, become official members of the team from Draft Day through to Graduation. At Team IMPACT, they envision a future where the lives of children facing the hardships associated with adverse issues and events will have access to collegiate team-based support in order to significantly enhance their quality of life in a number of ways, including; socially, psychologically, physically and academically. Team IMPACT also strives to provide collegiate teams with increased levels of awareness, sympathy and support for the medial and disease communities. Established in 2011, Team IMPACT has already matched over 600 children with collegiate teams, at over 270 institutions in 42 states, improving the quality of life of hundreds of courageous children and touching the lives of over 20,000 student athletes. For more information, please visit: www.goteamimpact.org.