Stonehill Football Drafts Nick Claudio from Team IMPACT

Stonehill football head coach Robert Talley welcomes his newest team member Nick Claudio, of Mattapoisett, to his team in a signing day ceremony this morning.

Mattapoisett, Mass., native becomes newest member of Skyhawks football program


CBS Boston Feature on Nick

EASTON, Mass. (March 22, 2013) – The Stonehill College football program welcomed Mattapoisett, Mass., native Nick Claudio to its program during a draft ceremony through Team IMPACT in the Merkert Gymnasium/College Center this morning.

Nick, 12-years old, was diagnosed with a brain tumor on his optic nerve in July, 2010, that put so much pressure on his optic nerve that it led to losing his vision. He has remained upbeat, being quoted as saying in a recent news article, "A loss of sight is never a loss of vision, you need to be able to look forward and keep moving."

"Nick is a truly amazing young man, who serves as an inspiration to us all," said Stonehill football head coach Robert Talley. "He is smart, thoughtful and very perceptive and a welcome addition to the Stonehill football program."

Nick recently became the first recipient of the Cam Neely Award for Courage earlier this month. After losing his vision, he has adapted to life being blind by teaching himself braille, learning to ski and graduating from his elementary school at the top of his class. In July 2012, doctors found two additional tumors, one on his auditory nerve. In an effort to save his hearing, doctors opted to treat it with chemo and radiation rather than doing surgery which carries the threat of him going deaf.

Since his diagnosis in July, he has started a high intensity chemotherapy regiment that requires him to undergo a week long in-patient treatment every other week. This grueling treatment schedule makes it very difficult to go to school and therefore, he currently is not enrolled.

Nick meets his new teammates after signing his Letter of Intent.

"Having someone like Nick involved in our program serves as a reminder on a daily basis to keep things in perspective," said Talley. "If you ever question whether you can make it through a workout, a practice, or a game, all you have to do is realize all Nick has endured, and how he continues to push forward. He's not an inspiration because he got sick, he motivates us because of the way he has handled his adversity. Nick and his family made the Stonehill football program better the day they joined us."

Nick is the son of Allison Isherwood and has a six year old sister, Ella. They live with his mother's boyfriend, Jeff, who played college football at Lafayette University. Nick's favorite number is seven, he loves the color red, and though he likes all types of music, pop and hip hop top his list. He is an excellent singer and actor and has been in school productions and performs in a singing group, "The Showstoppers." Nick is also a big fan of Harry Potter and also likes to go skiing, swimming, hiking and biking.

Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, Play Against Challenges, Together) is a New England based non-profit that aims at improving the quality of life for kids facing life-threatening illnesses by creating unparalleled team based support systems with area college athletic teams. Nick is the latest from Team IMPACT to join the Skyhawk family as the football team joins the men's and women's basketball, field hockey and ice hockey teams to be involved with the program.

Stonehill finished its 2012 season with a 5-5 record overall, including a 5-3 clip in Northeast-10 play to mark the Skyhawks first winning season in Conference play since Talley's first season in 2007. Stonehill was named the Northeast-10 "Team of the Year" by, while Talley received the website's Conference Coach of the Year and the Skyhawks' nationally-televised matchup with No. 3 University of New Haven was labeled as blog's NE-10 Game of the Year.

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