The University of Iowa officially has the best new football tradition.
The University of Iowa kicked off a new football tradition on Saturday when fans stopped to wave to patients at the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital next door. At the end of the first quarter, the roughly 70,000 fans at Kinnick Stadium turned and waved to the kids in the treatment rooms overlooking the stadium.
Ties between the hospital and the football program run deep. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz donated $1 million to the hospital’s research in treating premature babies. Kirk and his wife Mary recently lost a grandchild born at just 21 weeks, and they put the donation in her name, establishing the Savvy Kerentz Program in Neonatal Research. In a press release announcing the gift, Mary said, “We knew Savvy was born too early. We also knew they do extraordinary things at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital that would give her a fighting chance. We were thankful we had that.” The Iowa Hawkeyes have also recruited a current or former patient from the hospital to serve as honorary “kid captain” at each home game since 2009.
The hospital offered a sincere thank you on behalf of the kids.