Coaches, team captains, cheerleaders and mascots from the University of Central Florida and Ball State football programs, along with Honorary Game Chairman and former NFL star Mike Alstott, will visit All Children's Hospital on Thursday.
The players will visit the children, take pictures, sign autographs and provide gifts from ESPN and memorabilia from each school. In many cases, though, the most valuable gifts are the priceless hugs. Last year, Vince Papale, who inspired the Walt Disney Movie "Invincible" and served as the Keynote Speaker at last year's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg Kickoff Luncheon, also made it a point to be at the event, a news release said.
"When the teams from the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg visit our patients, it really brightens their day," said Kristin Maier, Director of the Child Life Program at All Children'sHospital in a news release. "It creates a break from the anxiety a child is often feeling while being in the hospital. You can see the excited look on their faces when the players and team mascots enter the room - it's almost like a 'WOW' factor."
"Year after year, athletic directors from both schools rave about how great of an experience the hospital visit is for their players and coaches," said Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg Executive Director Brett Dulaney in a news release. "The visit to All Children's Hospital is an integral part of the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl and we're proud that we have done this in each year of our bowl."
The 2012 visit to All Children's Hospital will mark the fifth time in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg's five years of existence.