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Robert Morris hockey adds a youthful member for the 2013-14 season

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Newest Colonial comes to RMU from Team IMPACT

The Robert Morris University men’s ice hockey team announced the addition of Sam Zimmerman through the Team IMPACT Foundation at a press conference held Wednesday evening.  Almost a year to-date after being rushed to the hospital, Sam joined the Colonials after signing a contract sitting alongside head coach Derek Schooley.

Sam – a native of Bethel Park, Pa. – has been battling a massive brain infection for almost a year now.  In April of 2012, he was rushed to the hospital due to stroke-like symptoms.  A few days later, an MRI revealed the brain infection that had consumed the right side of his brain.  He underwent a craniotomy where the infection was removed while spending nearly two weeks in the ICU where doctors put Sam through intense physical and occupation therapy while receiving antibiotics constantly.  Sam was also fitted for a protective helmet due to the removal of part of his skull until he had a prosthetic plate implanted in June of 2012.

Sam had beaten all the odds and did not suffer any permanent physical or cognitive damage as he was well on the road to a full recovery.  His health took a turn for the worse in October when he had a staph infection that required the prosthetic plate to be removed.  In December, Sam underwent his sixth major surgery in eight months to have another prosthetic plate implanted.

Picking up the sport of hockey as a forward, Sam has now switched his focus to becoming a goaltender.  He shares his story with anyone that will listen, including those who have to undergo similar surgeries.  A huge fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sam will soon add the Robert Morris Colonials to that list.

The Colonials are coming off of their best season in franchise history after picking up twenty wins.  Behind the strength of former teammate and captain Chris Kushneriuk and his battle with cancer, RMU rallied around his struggle to not only motivate Chris but to motivate themselves as well. The team will no doubt do the same as they accept Sam in to the Robert Morris family.  Led by junior Andrew Blazek, the Colonials will surround Sam with support from each player, including team advocates Matt Cope, Brandon Denham, David Friedmann, Scott Jacklin, and Cody Wydo.

Before he officially signed on as the newest member of the Colonials, Sam spent some time in the locker room with his newest teammates where he got to know some of the players while the players learned about Sam and his condition.  After signing, Sam received his first Robert Morris jersey along with an autographed stick commemorating his signing day.

Team IMPACT is a non-profit chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses. Across the northeast they create unparalleled team based support systems. Core to their model is harnessing the power of teamwork by matching these courageous kids with college athletic teams. Team IMPACT children are drafted onto local college athletic teams and become an official member of the team for the duration of their treatment and beyond. For more information on Team IMPACT, visit www.goteamimpact.org.

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