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Patriots' Josh Uche carries Team Impact friendship into NFL

Patriots' Josh Uche carries Team Impact friendship into NFL
Patriots' Josh Uche carries Team Impact friendship into NFL 02:36

FOXBORO - The Kraft family knows the value of sports - especially in New England. They know sports bring joy and teach life lessons and teamwork.

As the New England Patriots gear up for another season of football, several players are drawing motivation from the non-profit Team Impact, which matches children with disabilities with college sports teams.

"The beauty of the organization is - it allows kids who can't be a part of a team to truly be part of a team," said Team Impact co-founder Dan Kraft.

  Patriots' linebacker Josh Uche says Larry Prout, who he met through Team Impact, is "like my brother." New England Patriots

For Patriots' linebacker Josh Uche, the connection with Team Impact goes back to his college days at Michigan, where he met a new teammate - Larry Prout.

"Every time I see Larry, I can only speak from my own perspective, it's like seeing my brother," Uche said.

Prout was born with severe medical disabilities, making it impossible for him to play sports. But he's still part of the team, says Kraft. "It changes their lives in tangible ways. Not just their lives, but their families and their siblings as well."

And the players draw inspiration from matches like Prout, who has undergone more than 100 surgeries.   

"You just see someone go through so much adversity but still have a smile on their face. I know from the outside looking in, people think that the players have the impact on the kids going through those difficult times. It's actually the kids that have the most impact on us athletes," Uche. His My Cause, My Cleats - which encourages NFL players to support a favorite cause through custom-designed cleats - is Team Impact.

Uche's My Cause, My Cleats is Team Impact. New England Patriots

Kraft says it's all about creating leaders off the field. "It's important to us as an organization... that our players aren't just in between the white lines. That they're all active members of our Boston community."

For Uche and Prout, their friendship has continued into the NFL.

"It's just that connection, man. It's like having a best friend there that's there to inspire you," Uche said.

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