The TCU baseball team added one of their most unique and important recruits ever to the squad on Saturday night.
Micah Ahern, a four-year-old boy currently battling neuroblastoma, was made an honorary member of the team at a press conference held in his honor.
TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle, Micah’s family and the entire baseball team joined him for the ceremony.
At the press conference, Micah got to meet the team and signed a letter of intent to play with the Frogs in 2027, the year he is expected to come out of high school.
“We’re very blessed and honored to call him a Horned Frog now,” junior first baseman Kevin Cron said. “When you become a member of the TCU baseball team, you become part of a family and that’s something that lasts a lifetime.”
Micah was later presented with an official jersey covered by signatures from the entire team before answering a few questions from the media.
“We so much admire and respect what he’s done in his short life and what he’s going to do,” Schlossnagle said.
Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer that most commonly affects the adrenal glands of infants, according to WebMD. Micah was diagnosed with the disease in August 2010 and is currently expected to undergo at least five more years of treatment.
Schlossnagle said that someone like Micah gives the team perspective about adversity.
“It certainly gives you a lot of perspective about any issues we may be dealing with, especially on the baseball field,” Schlossnagle said.
The Frogs struggled for most of last year, compiling a 29-28 record overall and going 13-12 in conference play. They’re currently ranked No. 19 in the NCAA’s preseason rankings.
“We all want to have success but, at the end of the day, success or failure on the baseball field pales in comparison to the success or adversity that he [and his family have] to overcome,” Schlossnagle said.
The team discovered Micah through an organization called Team IMPACT.
According to the organization’s website, Team IMPACT’s goal is to “enhance the lives of children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by matching them with college athletic teams.”
Below is a map of some notable schools that Team IMPACT has worked with in the past.
Linda Ahern, Micah’s mother, said she felt extremely blessed to be a part of a TCU community that would lift them up during an otherwise tough time.
“It’s amazing,” Ahern said. “It takes a lot of work, on their part, to adopt someone like Micah. They have put in so much work and so much effort just to love on Micah and love on our family and it means everything to us.”
Junior pitcher Brandon Finnegan said he was extremely excited about the addition of Micah to the team.
“It’s a blessing, really,” Finnegan said. “It’s amazing to have him as a part of the TCU family now.”
Finnegan, who was Honorable Mention All-Big 12 last season, added that starting the season off by honoring someone like Micah gives the team added motivation and passion.
“It makes us love life even more,” Finnegan said. “It makes us love the game even more. It makes us want to try harder, not only for us, for our school or for our community, but also for Micah.”
The Frogs held their first practice of the season last Friday. They’re currently scheduled to begin their regular season on Feb. 14 against the Jacksonville University Dolphins.
Their newest signee is expected to be with them every step of the way.
“Anything and everything he can be a part of is what he’ll be a part of,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s truly a part of what we do and we’re excited to have him.”
Micah is currently undergoing his treatment at nearby Cook Children’s Hospital. For further updates on his progress throughout the upcoming season and beyond, you can visit his Facebook page and/or his CaringBridge profile.
Regardless what the future holds for TCU baseball’s latest inspiration, one thing is certain: Micah’s life wasn’t the only one that changed for the better on Saturday night.