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University signs 6-year-old boy battling rare illness to football team

NEW HAVEN (WTIC) -- The University of New Havenfootball team lost a 4-point game Saturday but did something far more important than winning or losing a football game.

Through the Team IMPACT initiative, the Chargers drafted JJ Lopez, 6, from Meriden. He suffers an immune deficiency known as CVID, asthma, and a blood disorder.

"We definitely needed him yesterday," coach Chris Pincince joked. "We're gonna love to have him out there. But as I explained to our team last night, after we took a tough loss, there are a lot of other things out there that are more important than winning and losing football games."

"It means a lot," said senior and wide receiver Collin Hill. "I think giving back as an athlete... and JJ. He sees us as big brothers already."

Team IMPACT focuses on improving quality of life for kids with life-threatening and chronic illnesses by matching them up with teams for spirit. There will be a blood drive in Lopez's honor at Boscov's in Meriden on October 28.

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