NFL Draft 2017: Top prospects visit patients at Shriners Hospital for Children
Top NFL Draft prospects visit Shriners Hospital for Children
PHILADELPHIA– Taven Toney, 13, became Snapchat famous on April 26.
He was showing off his pushup skills to Utah’s offensive tackle Garett Bolles, when the top NFL Draft prospect started recording it on his Snapchat account.
What makes Toney’s pushup skills so remarkable isn’t just the fact he can do 30 (and some with only one arm.)
It’s the fact that Toney doesn’t have actual hands. But he doesn’t let that stop him — and it didn’t stop him from meeting his favorite college football players.
Taven Toney (center) poses for a photo with Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (left) and Utah offensive tackle Garett Bolles (right). Julia Hatmaker | firstname.lastname@example.org
The NFL brought more than 20 of its top draft prospects to Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, which is a nonprofit that helps kids with orthopedic and spinal cord problems regardless of their family’s ability to pay. The football players did arts and crafts with the kids, played mini games of touch football and tried their hand at obstacle courses.
Among those who came out where Corey Davis, a wide receiver from Western Michigan, and one of the most talked about players this draft season (especially by Philadelphia Eagles fans). Haason Reddick, a linebacker from Temple, and John Ross, a wide receiver from Washington.
But for Toney, the best part was getting a one-on-one interaction with Deshaun Watson, a quarterback from Clemson.
“It was awesome,” Toney said, adding that visits like this are special for the kids at the hospital.
“It means that they care,” he said. “It means that they can put time in to hang out with like us.”
Harry Reiter, an emeritus board member with the hospital, hopes that the visit inspires the NFL players to give back.
“They get into the league and they understand community relations more and how much [events like this] can mean to a young kid,” he said.
In some cases, it can inspire a kid’s future career dreams.
One of those kids is Alec Cabacungan who has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bones). He aspires to be a sports broadcaster and analyst someday, and so he spent part of the players visit interviewing them for a video for the hospital.
John Ross, a wide receiver with Washington, is interviewed by Alec Cabacungan, Shriners Hospitals for Children Television Patient Ambassador. The top prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft visited the Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia on April 26, 2017 to play with the kids who are patients there. Julia Hatmaker | email@example.comJulia Hatmaker | firstname.lastname@example.org
In other cases, a meeting with one of the players could mean a lifelong friendship.
“The kids get a chance to see the players up close, they play with them, make friends with them,” Reiter said. “Some of them, it’s amazing, they meet guys here and it goes on later on, throughout the career they think of the kids they met.”
You can see the visit in action in the video at the top of this article. See photos from the event in the gallery below. You can learn more about the Shriners Hospital for Children at shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.
The NFL Draft is televised starting at 8 p.m. on April 27. The NFL Draft Experience, a free three-day fan festival, starts at noon on April 27 along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. You can read more about it in the link below.
PennLive will be covering the NFL Draft live from Philadelphia. Be sure to follow the Philadelphia Eagles Facebook page and Pittsburgh Steelers Facebook page for stories about those teams. For all our stories, check out this page.
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