GW Softball Welcomes Newest Recruit

Addy Daugherty, an 11-year-old battling serious health issues since birth, was introduced at halftime at men’s basketball home opener.

November 9, 2022

Addy Daughtery

Eleven-year-old Addy Daugherty of Glen Burnie, Md., was introduced as the softball team's latest recruit at halftime of a men's basketball game. (Michael Layton/GW Athletics)

By T. Kevin Walker

Whether on the softball diamond or in the game of life, the newest member of the George Washington University softball team is a proven fighter.

Eleven-year-old Addy Daugherty of Glen Burnie, Md., was recruited through GW’s partnership with Team IMPACT, an organization that matches children battling serious illnesses and disabilities with college sports teams to foster life-changing experiences.

Addy was welcomed to the team with an official signing ceremony Monday evening at the Charles E. Smith Center that included words of praise from her new teammates and an on-court introduction during the GW men’s basketball team’s victory against Virginia State.

“We are very intentional about every person we sign. We make sure they know what it takes to be a member of the GW community and that they will make the people around them better,” head softball coach Chrissy Schoonmaker said. “We could not have asked for more than what we have found in Addy. She is strong; she is courageous; and she is brave.”

Such adjectives have been used often to describe Addy since she was an infant. She’s always battled a litany of health issues and hospital stays are constant. But her parents, Michelle and Randall, say Addy consistently finds the motivation to keep going.

“She’s never let any of it keep her down. She has been that way since she was very small. She pushes herself to play sports and show she is like any other kid,” Michelle Daugherty said.

Addy also has a creative side, evidenced by the writing pens – adorned with tiny glimmering softballs – she made and presented as gifts to her GW teammates and coaches. Overwhelmed by her special day, Addy didn’t have a lot to say but did express her excitement about being in the dugout and on the field for the upcoming season.

Several Team IMPACT athletes have signed with GW Athletics teams, including Addy’s younger brother Ethen, who is currently matched with the GW swimming and diving team. Seth Rosenzweig, the CEO of Team IMPACT, is a GW alumnus and the university’s former executive director of development, and GW Athletic Director Tanya Vogel sits on Team IMPACT’s Washington, D.C., region board.

Nationwide, Team IMPACT has matched nearly 2,600 children with more than 700 schools. While the experiences differ, the goal of these partnerships is to build traits like empathy, camaraderie, resilience and boldness – and not just within the children but everyone on the team.

Coach Schoonmaker believes Addy will give to the softball program just as much as she receives, all while showing her teammates that there are many ways to earn a win.

“GW Athletics is about being champions on the field, being champions in the classroom, and being champions in the community,” she said.