The LSU and Iowa football teams are in Tampa for the Outback Bowl, which is being played at Raymond James stadium on January 1st. After practice on Saturday, players from both teams took time out of their busy schedules to visit sick children at Tampa General Hospital.
According to Channel 8 News in Tampa, players and coaches from both teams handed out pennants, posters, hats and T-shirts to children at the hospital, visiting with over 30 kids. Representing LSU included Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. who are wide receivers; Seth Frugé, linebacker, and Zack Mettenberger, quarterback. The Iowa team were represented by Akrum Wadley, running back; Kevin Ward, defensive back; fullback, Berkley Grimm; Justin Joyce, quarterback, and kicker Aiden Haffar.
LSUsports.net reports that the players found it a humbling experience, crediting the university for reaching out to the community in Tampa while they are in town. Lineacker Seth Frugé siad that although the kids were excited to see the players, it was the players themselves who benefited from the experience, adding that it made them realize how lucky they were to be doing what they are doing.
In a report in hawkeysports.com, a young Florida Gators fan appears to have switched allegiances, at least temporarily to the Iowa Hawkeye's. Paige Young, who has been in Tampa General for two weeks, declared that the Hawkeye's will be the winning team.
It was a poignant visit for fullback Berkley Grimm, he recently battled cancer himself and especially wanted to reach out to a child currently battling the disease. According to hawkeysports.com he said, "It's almost been a year now and it just meant a lot to see that kid because other people were there for me and I knew what it would mean to him. I wanted to tell him to keep fighting, keep pushing on, everything will be alright. It meant a lot".
Community relations manager for Tampa General, Mary Jane Harrington said that the children really enjoyed the visit and commented that the players are well balanced, although they are in town to play the game and enjoy themselves, they took time to reach out and give back to the community.