Sept. 16, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For years, the Notre Dame women’s soccer team has been known for its assists on the field, but now the Fighting Irish are taking that help into the community to help a special fan in need.
For each goal that the defending national champions score during the 2011 season, fans can pledge any amount they choose towards a fund that will help defray medical expenses for Steve Emrich (EM-rick), a 38-year-old Fighting Irish supporter and father of three young girls from Raleigh, N.C. Each Fighting Irish player now carries with her a pledge card that fans can fill out with the designated per-goal pledge, and a special on-line web page (www.UND.com/emrich) also now gives fans another way to make their pledges. At the end of the season, fans will receive a note in the mail with a update on the team’s final goal output and their pledge total.
In addition, the Fighting Irish will wear specially-designed jerseys for their Sept. 30 nationally-televised home match against Connecticut and fans can bid to own those jerseys through an on-line auction that will debut in late September — the proceeds likewise will go to the Steve Emrich Fund. Should fans wish to make a flat donation rather than bid on a jersey or make a per-goal pledge, they will have that option (via www.UND.com/emrich), with special Notre Dame women’s soccer autographed gifts available at different donation levels ($25 – Notre Dame team poster autographed by the 2011 team; $50 – “The Extra Mile” national championship DVD, signed by head coach Randy Waldrum; $100 – Notre Dame soccer ball autographed by the 2011 team).
Emrich has been in the neurocare program at WakeMed Hospital in Cary, N.C., since May 27 following a series of seizures and subsequent cardiac arrest that left him without a pulse for more than 20 minutes. After his wife, Lisa, helped perform CPR and he was brought to the hospital to be put on an ice protocol therapy, Emrich spent more than three weeks in a coma and the early prognosis was poor due to early onset myoclonus, a movement disorder indicating severe brain damage.
However, Emrich’s condition improve dramatically on Father’s Day 2011, when he came out of the coma and was able to repeat the names of his three daughters. Since that time, his cognition has been excellent and his personality (including his wonderful sense of humor) is completely intact, although he remains physically challenged due to severe action myoclonus, which has made it difficult for him to feed himself, sit up on his own or walk. As such, his recovery will take months or even years, and the long-term physical outcome is uncertain.
Emrich’s physical improvement was so great that he was allowed to leave the hospital for the first time on Aug. 26 to watch Notre Dame play North Carolina in nearby Chapel Hill, N.C. Although not many (including some of his physicians) believed he would be able to tolerate the five-hour adventure, Emrich showed incredible strength and perseverance by staying for the entire match, which extended into overtime, and cheering on the Fighting Irish. The Notre Dame players and coaches then visited Emrich back in his hospital room the next day, continuing the unending wave of prayers and good wishes that already have done so much to fuel his recovery.
For more detailed information on Emrich’s condition, including photos and daily updates, please visit his web site at www.caringbridge.com/visit/steveemrich.
Having already scored 17 goals in its first seven matches this season, No. 12/14 Notre Dame returns to action at 5 p.m. (ET) Friday when it plays host to Louisville at Alumni Stadium in the BIG EAST Conference opener for both teams. Tickets are available in advance through the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office, located inside the Rosenthal Atrium at Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The ticket office is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, and also can be reached by phone at (574) 631-7356. In addition, tickets may be purchased on-line through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web page (www.UND.com/tickets) — all major credit cards are accepted and service charges may apply. Fans also may purchase individual tickets on match day by visiting the ticket windows outside Alumni Stadium beginning one hour prior to kickoff.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women’s soccer news Twitter page (@NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women’s soccer page at UND.com.
— ND —