The University of Akron football players visit Akron Children’s Hospital before every home game in the fall, which is 6 times throughout the season. During Christmas, one of the players always dresses up as Santa. This year there was even an Elf. The kids loved it.
My mom works for The University of Akron football program and she brings the players to the hospital to visit with the kids. I work in the Ear, Nose and Throat Center, so we were lucky enough to have these guys stop by to visit the kids who were in our waiting room.
When the players came in this past Monday, one patient was so excited. His mom told me she didn’t know if the little boy was more excited to see Santa or the football players. The players posed for a picture with the little boy and gave him a present and a team poster. All of the children in our waiting room received presents from Santa and his “helpers.”
At Easter, the players bring items to help the patients decorate bags and eggs. At Halloween, the players bring pumpkins to carve and decorate with the patients. Some parents will take pictures of the players with their children. The players have even been asked to sing “Happy Birthday” to patients.
One of the players, Nick Rossi, has come to the hospital every time, for the entire 4 years he has been a student athlete at The University of Akron. He made a comment on Monday about how it was the last time he would get to come visit the kids. He was instrumental in getting other players to go on the visits. The players feel that once you go to Akron Children’s Hospital, you will want to go back.
Seeing the players interact with the patients is such a wonderful thing. The players are great with the patients. The players get down on one knee to be at the child’s level and take the time to talk to each child. These football players take time out of their busy schedules and volunteer to come here to see the kids.