WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue women's tennis team signed 6-year-old Addyson Wooldridge on Friday inside the Schwartz Tennis Center. Addyson, who is an avid Purdue tennis fan and Lafayette, Indiana, native, was diagnosed with Spina Bifida at birth along with several other medical conditions.
The Boilermakers partnered with Team IMPACT to include Wooldridge on their 2017-18 roster and involve her in all team activities. The not-for-profit aims to improve the quality of life for children faced with life-threatening or chronic illness by matching them with collegiate athletic teams.
Addyson was a regular in the stands last season and quickly formed a strong bond with the team and head coach Laura Glitz.
"Addyson was already a part of our program and now we get to make it official," Glitz said. "She is such a little fighter, and I believe she demonstrates that quality to our players.
"She has had a lot of adversity in her short life, but even through all that she has endured, she always has a smile on her face. I think it is important for our players to gain perspective early in their careers, so that they assign value to what truly matters, and block out anything that does not. Addyson's infectious smile is a constant reminder of this."
Addyson has undergone multiple surgeries as a youth and copes with the side effects of myelomeningocele, hydrocephalus and clubbed feet. Through it all, she remains a positive, energetic child. She loves attending school as a first grader, swimming, dancing and watching Purdue women's tennis with her mom, dad and older brother, Leo.
"Today meant so much to Addyson and our family," Addyson's mom, Hope Wooldridge, said. "The girls and coaches have been so supporter of her, and we're excited for that relationship to grow now that Addyson is an official Boilermaker."
On Friday, Addyson received her own locker in the team's lounge and was invited to future practices, workouts, matches and team dinners.
"Our goal is to give her as much support as possible, especially during hard times," Glitz said. "She is as much of a role model for us as we are for her."
To make a donation in honor of Addyson, visit RileyKids.org.