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Penn State Football Virtually Visits Hershey Children’s Hospital

Penn State football head coach James Franklin, several student-athletes, and the one and only Nittany Lion took part in a virtual visit to the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

The team’s annual trip to the children’s hospital has been held each year since 2014, but the Nittany Lions broadcasted virtually on Facebook Live, Twitter, and Periscope this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pediatric patients Devin, Sawyer, and Owen were the stars of the show. Together, they interacted with several players who stopped by to meet with them throughout the hour-long broadcast.

Sean Clifford and Pat Freiermuth were the first guests on the livestream. While this year’s visit was a bit different than year’s past, the quarterback explained how significant it is to him and everyone else in the Penn State football community.

“This is obviously one of the most important days of the year for everybody involved,” Clifford said. “Today means a lot to a lot of people, and I think it’s just great to give back. We get to play this game that we love, and I think the best way to do it is to effect and bring joy to as many people as possible.”

After their introductions, Clifford and Freiermuth fielded questions from guests, played charades, and shared some jokes throughout the call. Clifford’s roommates Fred Hansard and Tariq Castro-Fields, and even his dog Bubba Clifford, stopped by to say hello for a few minutes.

Aeneas Hawkins and PJ Mustipher joined the call later on. Both met with special guest Owen and discussed some of their favorite memories from Beaver Stadium, along with a few other questions.

Once the players finished up, head coach James Franklin joined the call to meet all three guests. He fielded questions from each patient, including what it’s like to be a #GirlDad, his favorite foods, and tips on tackling.

“This has really turned out to be a phenomenal part of our program,” Franklin said. “I think it’s turned out to be better than probably anybody expected. I know the hospital has been appreciative of our partnership with them. I know our staff and players really value it as well.

“At the end of day, we understand how important winning is at Penn State. But we also understand the value of making an impact in your community,” Franklin added.

The head coach added that he’s loved to see the relationships grow between his players and the pediatric patients at the hospital.

“Some of our players and some of these kids, they’ve sustained these relationships over four or five, ten years after they leave Penn State,” Franklin said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

You can check out Penn State football’s full view to Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital below.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a junior majoring in digital and print journalism and is Onward State's sports editor. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]


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