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Spring practice doesn't start for the Texas A&M football team for a few days. But the players found their way out of bed on a Saturday morning to warm the hearts of a few patients at St. Joseph.
"It's always fun whenever you get to wake up and spend time with these people, because they're such special people," said quarterback Stephen McGee. "They have such a bigger impact on us than we do on them."
"Coach Fran, he just asked us to get more involved in the community," according to defensive lineman Joseph "Red" Bryant, "so he just asked a bunch of guys if we'd be willing to come to the hospital today to bring some joy to the people."
The players wandered the halls on St. Joseph through oncology and pediatrics, greeting both young and old patients.
"It's something they remember," said Teresa Callaway, a nurse at St. Joseph. "They don't remember the I.V. sticks or the treatments that we do, because they don't like us very much for that. But as they leave, they'll smile and be happy and say who they got to meet, what they got to do. So it ends up being a more positive experience than a negative one."
And it's not everyday an Aggie goes for a tonsillectomy like Kirby Seewald, and comes away with an autographed poster. "I'm sure, especially the little kids, they love it," she said. "They eat it up. They were really nice"
For the Aggie football players, the early wake-up was worth it for the chance to see the patients, even the ones who don't know what an Aggie or football is.
"It really makes me appreciate more what I have," said safety Jaxson Appel. "Not everybody gets to play football for Texas A&M and go to Texas A&M and be healthy, so it really puts things into perspective for you and makes you appreciate what you have more."