The University of Vermont men’s hockey team has announced that 14-year-old Shelburne native Jack Lyman is now an official member of the team. Lyman joins the Catamounts through Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses.
“We are absolutely thrilled to add Jack to our family,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon. “Jack will certainly benefit from his association with our program, but quite frankly, our student-athletes, coaches, and staff will learn far more from Jack. He is a courageous young man that never gives up no matter how tough the challenge. His attitude will be contagious.”
Beginning when he was just 18 months old, Jack experienced a number of episodes similar to seizures. At the age of six, after a severe episode where he stopped breathing, he was diagnosed with Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia. In its simplest terms, CPVT is a heart disease that causes “electrical” problems within the heart.
With this diagnosis, Jack has an increased risk of having another severe episode and is now on a treatment plan to help decrease the odds of an additional CPVT episode. Undergoing experimental surgery, multiple heart medications, and the use of a heart monitor, Jack is continuing to beat the odds. He exemplifies what it means to be a fighter and will bring motivation to his new teammates. Jack will attend both practices and games this season with the team.
“When Coach Sneddon goes out in search of players to be on his team, there are a couple of essential qualities that he looks for: courage, determination, and perseverance,” said Mary Jo Sleeper-Lyman, Jack’s mother. “Jack may not have the technical or physical skills to be a part of this team, but I do not know anyone who exemplifies these attributes more than this young man.”
“Jack has had to endure many road blocks and hurdles along his way and with each one he has kept his head held high, a smile on his face, and moved forward doing the best he can,” Sleeper-Lyman continued. “When someone says he can’t, he finds an alternative route and says I can and I will. Look at him today, his doctors told him he could never be a part of a competitive sports team.”
“We wanted to organize the draft ceremony because we knew that we wanted Jack to be a part of our team,” said Bruneteau. “Jack epitomizes the values that we strive for everyday in the classroom, on the ice, and in the community: Pride, selflessness, and toughness. He is an amazing kid and our team is very excited to have him with us this year.”
For more information on Team Impact, visit www.GoTeamIMPACT.org.