USF men’s tennis team is forever young with their newest member

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TAMPA, Fla. – Meet the newest member of the USF Men’s Tennis team.

He’s a hard one to keep up with. That’s because Declan Patrick is a little all over the place, just like his tennis game.

This seven year old isn’t the next Roger Federer. He doesn’t really know how to serve. Or even hit the ball properly. But there’s just something about Declan that brings a winning edge to USF.

“His presence is special,” USF sophomore Bruno Oliveira said. “His energy is special as well. And it makes us feel special.”

Special only begins to describe Declan. He’s a bundle of energy that if you could bottle it up and sell it, you’d make millions. And he loves tennis.

“Cause it’s so cool,” he said.

It’s cool to be running around with his new coach and teammates. It’s cool to be learning more about his favorite sport. And it’s cool to make some new friends.

“It’s a really good training partner that we’ve got,” Oliveira said.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but Declan’s not right. On the outside, he looks like your normal seven year old. But on the inside, he’s got a lot going on. Declan suffers from Mitochondrial Disease, a disorder that affects the way he produces energy for his body to function properly.

“I have to watch him suffer through all the stuff of being in the hospital, just suffering so much when he is ill and when he’s in a hospital stay,” Declan’s mother Kathy said. “When he comes here, he forgets all about that. It just all goes away.”

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