SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

April 21, 2014

Max Inspiration

Danvers' Plansky has special bond with Northeastern basketball through Team IMPACT

It’s hard to say who is getting more out of Max Plansky’s involvement in the Team IMPACT program: the 15-year-old Danvers resident, or the members of the Huskies’ basketball team.

Plansky weighed just over two pounds when he was born more than three months prematurely and has severe cerebral palsy. He attends Beverly School for the Deaf and participates in Team IMPACT, a program designed to improve the quality of life for youngsters suffering from life threatening and chronic illnesses by pairing them up with college athletic teams.

“It’s been a fantastic experience for Max,” said his father Michael, the former athletic director at Marblehead High School. “Max loves sports, and he looks forward to going to practices and games. It’s been great for his self-esteem.”

Max Plansky has been given the royal treatment this year by Northeastern and its head men’s basketball coach, Bill Coen, who held a Letter of Intent signing for him at NU’s Cabot Center before the season started. The signing ceremony can be viewed by searching YouTube.

“I was excited and happy when I signed with Northeastern,” Max said with the aid of a dynavox, which he uses as a communication device. “My favorite part is getting to meet new people and being part of a team.”

Assistant coach Brian McDonald brought four members of the Huskies to Beverly last week to visit their young teammate and meet his teachers and friends. Junior Scott Eatherton, a finalist for the 2014 Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year, as well as fellow juniors Demetrius Pollard and Marco Banegas-Flores, as well as freshman Jimmy Marshall, came to visit and play hoops with Plansky at his school.

“Team IMPACT is a really great program. We’re so fortunate to be able to work with Max,” said McDonald. “He comes to our practices and games and raises the energy of everyone on our team. We were really excited to go to his school. I talked to the players on the ride home, and they all said they want to go again.

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