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Bulldog Football Brings Cheer to Shriners Hospital

football team at hospital

Taking a break from preseason training, the University of Redlands football team traveled to Los Angeles on September 2 to visit the young patients at Shriners Hospital for Children.

The Bulldogs put on their game jerseys and their smiles to deliver stuffed animals to the children who are in the hospital for various orthopedic conditions.

Prior to the trip, the team was asked by Head Coach Mike Maynard to purchase a toy for the children, a request the Bulldogs were more than happy to fulfill.

Senior defensive back and co-captain Jared Fink said, “We used our own money but we knew that $15 or $20 would go a long way. The kids were so excited to see a table full of stuffed animals. They each got to pick one and it really brightened up their day.”

Senior defensive lineman Matt Bean added, “It was great to see the smiles on the kids’ faces. For the day, we were their ‘all-stars’.”

More than 100 players and coaches filed through Shriners Hospital for Children in Los Angeles, interacting with the patients, their families and the staff.

In addition, the Bulldog student-athletes took a tour of the facilities and learned about the incredible work that the hospital does on a daily basis.

“It was great to find out that they do as much as they do for the kids. It doesn’t cost the kids anything,” Bean said. “We learned about the prosthetics and how they are made and fitted. They really have it down to a great science there.”

Beyond learning about the technology and sharing in the smiles, the Redlands football team gained some perspective on the challenges that it faces on the field.

“I think everyone got to see what a real struggle looks like; we realized how lucky we are to play football and just go to school everyday. We saw the kids’ strength and hopefully we can use that in our lives,” senior quarterback and co-captain Dan Selway said.

Fink shared a similar sentiment. “For me it put everything in perspective. We go through these double days at practice and think things are hard. Then we see these kids missing limbs and learning to use prosthetics… everyday activities are hard for them. I was grateful for the opportunity to visit these kids.”

“At the end of the day, it makes all of our bumps and bruises seem insignificant. It was really powerful,” commented Bean.

Donations from University of Redlands alumni paid for the costs of the bus rental.

Shriners Hospital for Children – Los Angeles is a “60-bed pediatric orthopedic hospital, research and teaching center providing comprehensive medical, surgical and rehabilitative care to children with orthopedic conditions,” according to the Web site.

Internationally, Shriners Hospitals provide medical service to children up to age 18 based on need for orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate.

For more information on the hospital, please visit http://www.shrinershq.org/.

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