Football Provides a Force of Hope

    The Trojans check out CHLA's helicopter landing pad during their visit.

    Oct. 11, 2013

    By Sarah Bergstrom

    A sign hanging in one of the physical rehabilitation rooms of Children's Hospital Los Angeles bears the mantra "A positive attitude is a powerful force." For a reenergized Trojan football team coming off of an exciting Thursday night victory, this phrase means a lot.

    On Friday afternoon, members of the USC football team paid a visit to CHLA offering hope and spreading smiles as they traveled room to room meeting patients. The Trojan hope force included Devon Kennard, Dion Bailey, Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor, Josh Shaw, Soma Vainuku, Tre Madden, Justin Davis, Randall Telfer, Max Browne, and Anthony Neyer.

    The athletes toured a variety of departments including oncology and physical and occupational therapy. They met children whose hospital stay had lasted anywhere from one day to six months. The group broke up into smaller teams to try and see as many patients as possible during their visit.

    One group, made up of Browne, Agholor, Shaw, and Vainuku, met a little girl named Grace who was undergoing chemotherapy treatment. She was in awe at how big the football players were and in between memorizing their names and running her fingers along their signatures on her brand new poster, she mentioned over and over again that she was hardly the size of their legs.



    Another group, comprised of Neyer, Davis, Lee, and Madden, met a young boy who had severely hurt his neck in a football game the previous night. The story hit close to home for the team members and they offered the young athlete words of encouragement on the process of recovering from injury and returning to the football field better than ever.

    An emphasis on positive attitude has helped the Trojans advance to a 4-2 record and regain the momentum in their season. But many team members learned at CHLA that positive energy can be an even more powerful force off the field.