Maggie Carpenter and Noah Powers
Sunday afternoon, both Shrine Bowl teams visited the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Greenville. Players and coaches had an opportunity to tour the facility, taking an inside look at the process of spinal surgery, the prosthetic limb room, and the motion sensor room.
North Carolina kicker/punter Noah Giroux described his experience at the hospital as, “Awesome, very humbling. A lot of kids there with disabilities- it made me realize how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do. Especially this great game that we all play and we all love.”
Players, Shriners, and families of patients were treated to a special lunch provided by the hospital. Players were even given the opportunity to sign autographs for patients.
“I feel like it meant a lot to the kids for us to come in there, and at least give them a signature of people that will most likely be in the next level,” said South Carolina defensive tackle Octavious Pringle when asked what his favorite part of the visit was.
To many players, interacting and spending time with patients was an eye-opening experience that gave them a new perspective on what Shrine Bowl is and who their work on the field is benefitting.
“I loved seeing the kids smile and playing with them and just enjoying time together,” said North Carolina defensive lineman Carl Isaac. “[Experiencing this] made me want to go harder on the field, because now I’m really playing for To other players, seeing the difference that the care of Shriners Hospitals makes in the lives of the children in their care truly hit home. Players toured the motion lab, where patients’ progress is monitored using video technology and tags along different parts of the patients’ bodies to monitor the movement of bones and joints.
“Going to the motion lab and seeing how much better that [patients] can walk [after treatment] hit home for me because you almost never see such a big difference between where you start and where you end up,” said South Carolina punter Pressley Harvin. “It’s almost normal walking again, and that just changed my life.”
Allowing the players to tour the hospital not only opened their eyes to the noble work of the Shriners, but also showed them the cause that they are supporting by playing in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. It showed them that they are not just here because they are good football players, but they are also here to make a difference in the lives of children who dream of doing what they do nearly every day. However, with fundraisers such as the Shrine Bowl, these children are one step closer to walking, then running, and then one day, even playing football themselves.