Thursday, December 27th, 2018

Notre Dame Visits Children's Medical Center

Photo By: Photo by Matt Kelly/ CBAA

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish took a break from their preparations for the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic this afternoon to visit patients and families at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

The visit began with a welcoming from Children’s Health President and Chief Executive Officer, Chris Durovich. Todd Macsuga, the General Manager of Goodyear North America, then presented the hospital with a special $10,000 check on behalf of Goodyear. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was the last to take the podium and presented honorary captain and Children’s patient Henry Graves with a Fighting Irish jersey.

Just more than 48 hours away from Saturday’s Cotton Bowl Classic, Kelly said that the visit to the hospital served as a break from football and helped put things into perspective. The head coach also emphasized the importance of giving back to the community.

“The game is important to our guys but in the larger scheme of things they recognize how important moments like these are,” Kelly said. “I think all these moments where they get a chance to give back is important. Part of my job is that they get a chance to grow and these are those growing experiences.”

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book spent the majority of the visit talking with patients and playing games. The signal-caller enjoyed the time and being able to impact the children.

“It’s awesome to do something bigger than ourselves,” Book said. “Even just coming over here for an hour and being able to put a smile on peoples’ face, it helps us realize the platform that we have and how we can help people. It’s such a good feeling.”

Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman said that the most impactful thing from the visit was the time he was able to spend dancing with a patient. He added that the visit also served as a reminder of the impact that he and his teammates can have on people in the community.

“I was fortunate enough to meet a patient and we had so much fun together. We were jumping around with the little pom poms and smiling, laughing and just dancing together,” Gilman said. “She made me smile and honestly made my whole day, it was so cool. When we make an impact on other people's lives, it makes an impact on our lives as well.”

Each patient received a Cotton Bowl goodie bag filled with items representing the big game by employees of American Airlines. The bag included an 83rd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic t-shirt and poster provided by the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. Goodyear provided teddy bears, footballs, a blimp poster and crayons. Notre Dame gifted footballs and pom poms. Refreshments were provided by Dr Pepper/Snapple.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic celebrates its 83rd anniversary on Saturday, Dec. 29. Live coverage on ESPN is set for 3 p.m. CST, with kickoff slated for 3:10 p.m.

This marks the fifth consecutive year for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic to be a part of the ESPN bowl lineup. Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge are set to provide the call from the booth with Holly Rowe and Tom Rinaldi reporting from the sidelines.

ESPN Radio returns as the Classic's national radio partner for the seventh consecutive year. Bill Rosinski teams with David Norrie in the booth and Ian Fitzsimmons on the sidelines to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium.

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