The Wolverine

November 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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NOVEMBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 9 M ichigan's first signee for the 2017 football class isn't the biggest or the strongest among a growing class. He might very well be the toughest. Larry Prout Jr. signed his letter of intent Oct. 10 at Schembechler Hall. In so doing, he became a member of the U-M football team as part of a Team IMPACT event in conjunction with the University of Michigan. Prout, who is 15 years old, has gone through multiple long hospital- izations and more than 90 surgeries stemming from several health issues, including spina bifida, cloacal exstro- phy, massive omphalocele and short gut syndrome, among others. "It's a very important thing for us, our team," Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "It's an honor to share a sideline with Larry. He's been to two games so far this year. We've won them both!" A Howell, Mich., native, Prout ad- dressed the media and his many sup- porters, including members of his medical team, to talk about becoming a Wolverine. "As I am signing and committing to the University of Michigan foot- ball team today, I am thankful for this opportunity and will work hard to represent its history, integrity and dedication to excellence," Prout said. "I also hope to bring awareness and represent all of the children fighting to stay healthy with their teams of surgeons, nurses and all of the other medical staff. "Thank you with all of my heart for giving me this chance, Team IM- PACT and Wolverines. Go Blue!" Michigan redshirt junior quarter- back John O'Korn worked with Team IMPACT during his time at the Uni- versity of Houston, and he and Prout have a special relationship. "I felt comfortable with Team IM- PACT and knew the great things that they were doing and got to meet Larry and his family this summer," O'Korn said. "They came and toured the facilities. Right from the start, I knew this guy was special, his whole family is special, and we just hit it off and stayed in touch ever since." Team IMPACT is a non-profit orga- nization based in Boston designed to improve the lives of children affected by chronic diseases or life-threaten- ing illnesses. Team IMPACT believes that the experience will not only en- hance the lives of the children, but also the lives of their families and the student-athletes involved. The orga- nization was formed in the spring of 2011 in order to bring a team at- mosphere to the children. Since its founding, Team IMPACT has paired more than 1,000 children to 400-plus colleges and universities across the country. The University of Michigan has worked with Team IMPACT previ- ously, via the men's lacrosse team. In 2014, the lacrosse squad signed 14-year-old Brendan Randolph to a letter of intent. Randolph was Prout's connection to Team IMPACT and helped him get involved after his own experience with the U-M program. Michigan didn't hold back in cel- ebrating Prout's addition. Harbaugh spent extensive time with the young man and his family among a gather- ing of friends, siblings, hospital per- sonnel, media and others in the mu- seum section of Schembechler Hall. A host of Wolverines also emerged to greet and chat with Prout. "We'll all be members or clients of the health care system at some point in our lives, and we wish most of those surgeries would be saved up Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Michigan Honors Very Special Early Signee U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh (left) and redshirt junior quarterback John O'Korn welcomed Larry Prout Jr. to the Wolverines in a special ceremony Oct. 10. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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