NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Days before Tulane’s big matchup against the Cincinnati Bearcats, the Green Wave football team rolled into Children’s Hospital New Orleans on Tuesday bringing baseball caps, t-shirts, autographs, and smiles to the young patients.

“I told them they were really cool football players and a really cool team,” patient Gilbert Johnson told WGNO’s Kenny Lopez.

“I like how they play,” 10-year-old patient Kahlil Bell added.

For Bell, who had brain surgery, this experience means the world to him and his mom.

“This is exciting for him being that he’s a huge football fan,” said Jennifer Bell.

But it also means a lot to Coach Willie Fritz and his players because of these patients’ grit and determination, which in return inspires them 

“These are the kids going through struggles and battles,” said Tulane QB Michael Pratt. “It’s important for us to step up and help in any way we can.”

“To know that we motivate them by just putting on a helmet, they are dealing with a tough fight, but it’s good to be able to brighten their day,” added LB Nicholas Anderson.

“Hopefully it will pep them up a little bit,” said Coach Fritz.

Coach Fritz and his guys have already proven they are winners on the field, but now they’re champions in these kids’ hearts.

“I’m lucky to be here today,” Johnson said.

“It’s hard when you’re sick and no one wants to be in the hospital,” explained Dr. Scott Macicek with Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “This normalizes it a bit for the kids, these kids get a real sense of hope and joy and we really appreciate Tulane coming out.”

Catch the Tulane-Cincinnati matchup live Friday at 11 a.m. on WGNO. Roll Wave!

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