PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The newest member of the University of Delaware’s Men’s Tennis team is 7-year-old Trace Couden.
The boy suffers from a rare form of epilepsy and he will undergo surgery early next month.
Despite it all, Trace is very proud to be a part of the team.
“I have my own locker,” he said.
And Trace’s mother, Heather Coudon, says it gives him confidence.
“Trace doesn’t know a lot of kids who suffer from epilepsy like he does, so a lot of time he does kind of feel alone,” she explained. “And this team has been amazing to him.”
Trace has been with the team since October and they decided to make him an official member during a special Draft Day ceremony, where he signed his letter of intent to play for the team.
Trace’s new teammates are thrilled to have him.
“We know all the stuff he’s been going through is so much more difficult than we do as student-athletes and it really puts things in perspective for us,” Blaise Casselbury, a junior captain on the team, said. “So, he inspires us to work harder and inspires us to be a better version of ourselves.”
And this moment means the world to Trace.
“What other 7-year-old can go around saying they have a college men’s tennis team for a friend?” Heather said.
For tennis coach Pablo Montana, Trace’s perseverance and presence means a lot.
“It puts things in perspective when you have Trace, who is just a great kid who has a good energy,” Montana said. “He’s a fighter. He shows us, I think, that there is more in life than just the tennis court. So, I feel this will be a great experience for our players, so they don’t take things for granted that we really have a lot to be thankful for.”