Thursday, December 27th, 2001
SOONERS BRING SMILES TO KIDS AT HOSPITAL|OU Center Vince CarDALLAS – The No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners took a break out of their preparations for the 66th SBC Cotton Bowl Classic to visit the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas on Thursday afternoon. Head Coach Bob Stoops and the entire Sooner squad met with approximately 150 children at the hospital. The players signed autographs, distributed toys donated by Bank of America and t-shirts donated by SBC and the Dr Pepper Bottling Company. Dr Pepper also donated beverages for the party.
J.C. Montgomery, president of the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, welcomed the Sooners to the hospital, noting the hospital has treated over 140,000 children at no charge in the 80-year history of the hospital. Thirteen-year-old patient Jerrod Jacobs presented Coach Stoops with a framed piece of art Jerrod created to commemorate the occasion. Following the presentation and a few remarks from Coach Stoops, the OU players and the children mingled the remainder of the afternoon.
“It’s a great honor for us to be here to meet with these kids,” Coach Stoops said. “I look out across this room and see a lot of heroes out there. These kids, their parents and the fund raisers in the Dallas community that support this hospital are true heroes. I’m glad we could meet them and hopefully take some of their energy with us for the game next Tuesday.”
Sooner freshman and starting center Vince Carter, named to The Sporting News’ Second-team Freshman All-America team, is a former patient of the hospital. Carter, who was treated at the hospital when he was in the seventh and eighth grades, briefly addressed the children and was full of emotion upon his return to the hospital.
“I was real bowlegged growing up and had problems with my knees and joints,” said the Waco, Texas, native. “I had two surgeries to straighten my legs, one when I was in the seventh grade and the other one when I was in the eighth grade, and they took care of everything financially. Without this hospital, I would not be playing football for the Sooners or anyone else today. It’s a real special feeling to come back here, and I was very excited when I saw it on our schedule.”
Carter can relate to what the hospital’s patients are experiencing.
“I know exactly what these kids are going through,” Carter said. “It’s a great feeling for me to be able to come back and talk to these kids. I wouldn’t be here today without the help they gave me and my family.”