|Ninkovich Giving Back|
by TSX of Scout.com, May 16, 2012 at 12:29 am ET
Rob Ninkovich Profile
-LB Rob Ninkovich, Team IMPACT and Tufts University's football team got together for a special day for South Hadley, Mass., eight-year-old Riley Roman May 2.
Roman, who's been living at the Ronald McDonald
House as he undergoes treatment for a brain tumor, struck up a strong connection and friendship with Ninkovich when the linebacker visited the Dana Farber Cancer Institute last year.
Team IMPACT (goTeamIMPACT.org) is a non-profit
that's committed to connecting children with life-threatening illnesses to a team-based support system. The charity has four Tufts alumni on its board of directors, including International Forest Products President and CEO Dan Kraft.
Roman's dream day included a "Combine" at Tufts,
camera crews, a pep band and cheerleaders as the boy was made an
honorary member of the Jumbos football team, including his own No. 64 jersey.
"Rob's not doing this for the TV cameras or the
notoriety," Kraft told ESPNBoston.com. "He's doing it because there's a real close affection and affinity between them."
Team IMPACT, which celebrates its one-year
anniversary on Mother's Day, hopes to continue to build similar
relationships between college athletic teams and children in the future.
"A big part of the concept is to provide the
support, team camaraderie and the connection that you get through the vibrant, youthful teams and offer this to Riley through his battle," said Jay Calnan, another Tufts graduate and Team IMPACT board member. "Riley is a shining example of how this program works."