Head coach Bill O'Brien and Texans players Chris Myers, Ryan Mallett, Ryan Griffin, David Quessenberry, Lonnie Ballentine, Jeff Tarpinian, as well as TORO the mascot visited with kids at Texas Children's Hospital on Wednesday. The Houston Texans and TCH announced on a seven-year partnership that begins April 1, 2015 to become the Official Children's Hospital of the Houston Texans.
"It's a great day for us as an organization and a great day for this hospital," O'Brien said Wednesday. "I'm very familiar with this hospital because this is where my wife and I bring our son Jack and it's been the best hospital we've been involved with."
The new Texas Children's partnership is in addition to the Houston Texans existing and long-standing partnership with Houston Methodist, the official Health Care Provider of the Houston Texans.
O'Brien and his wife Colleen researched TCH for their older son Jack, who was born with a brain malformation, even before moving to Houston.
In a new wing designed for children to hang out and play with each other, O'Brien and the players had a chance to interact with other patients and their parents. It's something the head coach wishes he and the players could do more often.
"There's a demonstrated correlation between attitude and medical practice," Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes said. "If we can lift the spirits, energy level, hope and the optimism among these kids, we really do think we can make a tremendous difference."
Players colored pictures, glued glitter, played video games, and chatted with the kids during their visit. Offensive lineman David Quessenberry, who brought his own Connect Four game to share, understands the struggles that some are facing, after he recently underwent chemotherapy and radiation for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"I know how important it is when friends come visit you in the hospital," Quessenberry said. "I know I've never met these people before but you interact with them and now we're friends. Now we're hanging out and passing the time. A lot of these guys, some of them have just started their treatment, some of them have been here a while. Either way, living in a hospital is not fun and when you have some time to have some fun, crack a few jokes, smile, play some games, that's a big deal."
In addition to the Houston Texans Kids Triathlon, Texas Children's will be the official Texans Play 60 Health Care Partner. The partnership will include the Texans Play 60 Challenge and the Texans Play 60 Character Camp. Texas Children's will also be the presenting sponsor of the Play 60 Game.