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Joining the University of Dayton Soccer Team Helped Tyler Sargent Grow More Comfortable Talking About CF
Tyler was signed to the Dayton Flyers though the Team IMPACT CF Project
Before joining the University of Dayton (UD) men’s soccer team, Tyler Sargent never felt comfortable discussing his cystic fibrosis (CF) with his peers.
“He used to really avoid talking about CF,” said his mother, Krystal Sargent. “He didn’t want to spend a lot of time at his friends’ houses because he didn’t want to have to bring his treatments with him.”
But joining the Dayton Flyers has instilled in Tyler, who is 13 years old, a new confidence. Tyler was signed to the team through the Team IMPACT CF Project, a program sponsored by Vertex that matches children with diseases like CF with college athletic teams.
“Being part of the team has helped him realize that he can have CF and still have a normal life,” Krystal said. “In my eyes, the Dayton soccer players are heroes. They’ve brought Tyler in and included him in everything they do. I love knowing that he has a team behind him who will support him.”
The team has welcomed more than just Tyler into their fold. They’ve also welcomed his entire family, including his brothers, who can often be found kicking the ball around on the Dayton soccer fields before and after practices and games.
“It’s so much fun to spend time with the team,” Tyler said. “They’ve been so nice to me since I joined the team, and I’ve become really close to some of the players.”
“We look at Tyler as a teammate, and as a friend,” said Dennis Currier, head coach of the UD soccer team. “He is really integrated with our guys, and they look out for him.”
Last year, for instance, the team threw Tyler a birthday party at one of their games, and presented him with a team scarf and goalie jersey. They also participated in a run to benefit CF. Tyler has grown close with several of the men on the team, who invite him to hang out off the soccer field and frequently communicate with him via text messages and on social media.
Coach Currier says that he’s seen his team grow significantly since Tyler joined the program.
“I think that having Tyler around reminds our young men not to take life for granted,” he said. “This program has such a huge impact on our student athletes. The moments we share with Tyler are moments that we’ll carry with us for the rest of our lives.”
Krystal, meanwhile, is thankful for the impact the program has had on her son.
“To see the UD team be so kind to Tyler, and welcome him with open arms, and talk to him about everything – it just means the world to me,” said Krystal.