University of Wisconsin Adds 8-Year-Old with PANDAS to Wrestling Team

June 3, 2016

“Today is a big day for me—I’m joining the wrestling team. I’m being drafted,” said eight-year-old Jason Ziglinski of Houdini Elementary in Appleton.

Jason suffers from micro-duplications of chromosome 2 and 15 (causing muscle weakness, autism and intestinal issues), PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disease Attributes to Strep), Lyme disease and other auto immune issues.

He was drafted to the UW-Oshkosh wrestling team on Tuesday, May 10 as part of Team IMPACT, a national organization that aims to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team.

Jason was nothing but smiles during his official signing. UWO wrestling coach, Efrain Ayala, pulled out all the stops to make the moment special not only for Jason but for the entire wrestling team.Jason Ziglinski Signing

“Part of being a Titan wrestler is to be a member of a family,” Ayala said. “This event brought the team together and showed them what it truly meant to be part of a family.”

Prior to the official draft day, Jason was invited to campus to partake in some wrestling lessons from the team and received his very own locker with headgear and all. The excitement was captured in a video that can be viewed here.

“Jason is a member of our team! We area looking at having Jason travel with the team to a couple competitions next season,” Ayala said. “We are so excited to have an additional member added to our team.”

Jason Ziglinski SigningAmy Ziglinski ‘91, Jason’s adoptive mother, never realized how much UWO was involved with supporting different organizations and causes.

“I thought of them as a typical Division III school—not as an awesome group working within the community,” Ziglinski said.

Ziglinski is not shy of giving back herself as she currently has seven children—three adopted and four foster—and adopted Jason and his twin brother, Jack, from the foster care program.

“I think Draft Day is a wonderful opportunity for both Jason and the team,” Ziglinski said. “The team will benefit from Jason’s infectious smile and his ‘don’t quit’ encouragement.”

The UW-Oshkosh wrestling team will start their 2016-2017 season in November but plan to host monthly activities with Jason before then.

“Coach Efrain has been exceptional in watching for Jason’s extra needs and planning for our gatherings,” Ziglinski said. “We look forward to many great memories!”

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