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4-Year-Old With Heart Failure Drafted to College Baseball Team: 'He's A Complete Fanatic'


Every up-and-coming athlete celebrates the first time he or she is drafted, even Ari Schultz, a 4-year-old boy who's waiting for a heart transplant.

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Little Ari, of Massachusetts, has been battling heart disease all his life.

His father, Mike Schultz, told InsideEdition.com that doctors first noticed something was wrong with the boy during an ultrasound when Ari's mother was only 18-weeks pregnant.

From there, he's received multiple heart surgeries and had a few "touch and go circumstances," his dad said.

Over the summer, Ari's heart problems took a turn for the worse as he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and placed on a transplant list.

"It's a question of how long we can keep him on his feet," Schultz said. "It's all about luck. The hope is he literally just stays on his feet. His odds are good, but not great."

As Ari was receiving a test to see if he was a suitable candidate for a transplant, his dad said he wanted desperately to play baseball, so his parents took him into the garden hospital garden to play.

That's where they ran into a representative from Team Impact, an organization that matches children battling life-threatening and chronic diseases with the sports team of their choice.

The representative then suggested they pair Ari up with Assumption College's baseball team.

"He met the team at Halloween," Schultz said. "They had a scrimmage in Halloween costumes, which served as his try out."

Needless to say, he made the cut, and was officially drafted by the team on Wednesday.

As per the coach's requests, the team held a formal press conference where attendees were asked to come in suits, "like they were having a major free agent signing," Schultz said.

And for Ari, that's all it took.

"His worldview is just forming. At his age, he feels like he's on the team. This is so important for him," his dad said.

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Ari is now looking forward to joining team dinners, throwing first pitches, attending practices, and even wearing his miniature-sized uniform.

Until then, Ari's celebration includes running around the hospital, telling people he was just drafted by the team, his dad said.

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