Dec. 18, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Less than two weeks out from their Cotton Bowl matchup in Dallas against Southern California and having just completed their academic obligations with final exams, members of the Ohio State football team spent Monday afternoon spreading holiday cheer to patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Head coach Urban Meyer and a handful of players that included J.K. Dobbins, Dwayne Haskins, Tuf Borland, Chase Young, Jeffrey Okudah, Malik Harrison, Robert Landers, Nick Bosa and Demario McCall mingled with children and their families, signed autographs, and took pictures for well over an hour.
“It means a lot to myself and my teammates to help put a smile on their face,” said Dobbins. “Being here is about letting them know we care about them. We’re appreciative that they took the time to come see us.”
Tony Tucker, Director of Student Well-Being, said much of the credit for this event goes to Meyer, who has created a culture within the Woody Hayes Center where community service and outreach is a high priority.
“We never have to force our guys to do this,” said Tucker. “They know that this is part of what they sign up for when they choose to be a Buckeye. I also think it’s important – especially this time of year – to have the opportunity to get away from football for a little while. The players benefit from being involved in an event like this just as much as the children do.”
Bethann Tilson, director of major gifts for the Nationwide Children’s Foundation who has worked for the hospital for 17 years, said the time spent with the children and their families will be the highlight of their holiday season.
“You see it in their smiles and the look on their faces,” said Tilson. “This is something the kids will never forget. They’ve understandably excited when they hear that the players and Coach Meyer are coming, and the way they talk and interact with them, I think they more than exceeded their expectations.”