Nov. 23, 2011
ATHENS -- The University of Georgia football team will be taking time out of its busy schedule this weekend to stop by the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Shepherd Center on Friday, Nov. 25 to visit with patients at the facilities.
"It's a great opportunity for our kids to take a few minutes and brighten some young boy or girl's day," Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson said. "It's great for our players too. It's a good community service project for them."
The visits have become tradition for the Bulldogs when they play Georgia Tech in Atlanta. This year, the players will be divided in half with the defense traveling to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta while the offense goes to the Shepherd Center.
For about an hour and a half, the players will visit with the patients and nurses while signing autographs mainly in auditoriums before breaking off into locations at the sites. At Children's Healthcare of Atlanta the linebackers will go to the Aflac Cancer Center while another group will head to the heart ward. While at Shepherd, a few of the players will take time to visit the ICU.
The University of Georgia has a long relationship with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the Shepherd Center. Many players and coaches have had family members or friends receive treatment at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti's daughter Kasyn and former women's basketball student manager Catrina Rushing are currently at the hospital fighting their battles with leukemia. Georgia has also had athletes stay at Shepherd Center, as baseball players Chance Veazey and Johnathan Taylor were both at the center after suffering injuries.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, a not-for-profit organization, is committed to enhancing the lives of children through excellence in patient care, research and education. Managing more than half a million patient visits annually at three hospitals and 17 neighborhood locations, Children's is one of the largest clinical care providers for children in the country.
Shepherd Center, founded in 1975, is a private, not-for-profit rehabilitation hospital and one of the nation's leading facilities specializing in medical treatment research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord and brain injuries.