Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

USC Visits Texas Scottish Rite Hospital

The USC Trojans took time out of their schedule this afternoon to visit with patients of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital. The entire squad along with Head Coach Clay Helton visited with the children and special guests inside the hospital’s cafeteria.

Coach Helton and the team were welcomed by Texas Scottish Rite’s President and CEO Robert Walker and special guest Dr. Drew Dossett a local orthopedic specialist who played for the university back in the 1980’s.

“It is a privilege and an honor to be here,” said Coach Helton. “I always tell our players the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. To see the time that is spent here to take care of the children and their families, is inspiring to all of us as a football team.”

As the Trojans and guests gathered, there were some special moments that each player was looking forward to. For long snapper Jake Olson it was spreading good cheer this holiday and spreading the team’s message of “fight on.” Olson stated he also spent the holidays as a child in a hospital like Scottish Rite, and was ready to share some hope and inspiration.

“For someone who has spent Christmas in a hospital, I know that it can be different,” said Olson. “It’s a cool moment that we get to come out here and spread some cheer as a team. There’s obviously a disadvantage and life can give you that, but our message to them is to never give up or surrender your hopes and dreams, but to have the courage to achieve your goals and fight on.”

Tight End Daniel Imatorbhebhe was excited to create special memories with each patient and his teammates, just like they have been doing all week being part of the 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

“Anytime we get to leverage the position we are in and touch the lives of certain people, it’s always special to know that us being here could create a great memory that these kids can take for the rest of their lives,” said Imatorbhebhe. “This isn’t something we take lightly. Everyone I’ve met has been super joyful and these kids inspire us, which is ultimately why you play.”

Upon arrival each patient and guest were handed a gift bag by volunteers from American Airlines. Each bag had a Goodyear teddy bear provided by the official sponsor of the classic, while the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic added in a commemorative t-shirt, pennant, and poster.

Texas Scottish Rite provided gifts of their own; a white ball cap with “Texas Scottish Rite Hospital” in front and the USC logo on the back. The gift was given to each student-athlete for them to sign and give out to the patients to take home as a souvenir. Along with the ball caps, the Trojans passed out mini footballs and rally towels with the school logo along with headphones for the children to enjoy.

To kick off the festivities, a special presentation was made before everyone broke out to their stations. Walker welcomed the team in a private room and presented to them honorary captain Thomas Bartee, a former patient of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital. The young Bartee welcomed the team and was given a USC jersey by Coach Helton that had his last name inscribed on the back.

The team was also presented a special drawing that was created by current patient Sam Reynolds. The drawing he made depicted the USC Trojan logo along with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic logo and the date of the game.

In the same ceremony, Director of North American Consumer Marketing of Goodyear, Seth Kleugherz presented the hospital two gifts. The first, a check for $10,000 and a certificate for rides on the Goodyear Blimp for the hospital to auction off at any special event.

As the afternoon went on, all attendees were spread throughout the cafeteria that was decorated in cardinal and gold, enjoying themselves at numerous fun stations which consisted of bowling, corn hole, coloring, hoola-hooping and a game of Pie Face. They also enjoyed cookies and drinks provided by Dr Pepper/Snapple.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic celebrates its 82nd anniversary on Friday, Dec. 29. Airtime on ESPN is set for 7:30 p.m. CST, with kickoff slated for 7:40 p.m.

This marks the fourth consecutive year for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl to be a part of the ESPN bowl lineup. Bob Wischusen and Brock Huard are set to provide the call from the booth with Allison Williams reporting from the sidelines.

ESPN Radio returns as the Classic's national radio partner for the sixth consecutive year. Brad Sham, the "Voice of the Dallas Cowboys," teams with Rod Gilmore in the booth and Quint Kessenich on the sidelines to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium. This is Sham's 21st consecutive year as the Classic's play-by-play voice and his 25th overall.

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