DALLAS –Jason Witten has been making annual visits to local children's hospitals with the Cowboys since his rookie year in 2003. It's a team tradition he always looks forward to during the holiday season.
"There was a little girl that we had an opportunity to see, and to see her light up, the smile on her face — her dad light up, talking about football," Witten said Monday. "That's all part of the reason we do what we do and the platform that we have. Being a father myself, I know how fortunate it is to have the health of your kids. To offer a hug or a smile or a high five, it goes a long way."
As the Cowboys ready for a December playoff push, the players and cheerleaders took time Monday morning to visit four children's hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area: Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Children's Medical Center Dallas and Medical City Children's Hospital.
The initiative, presented by UnitedHealthcare, gives the team a chance to spend time with patients seeking treatment through the holiday season.
Views of the Dallas Cowboys Annual Children's Hospital Visits.
"It's always amazing when we get a chance to come out to a place like this and see the kids and see the smiles that we can bring to their faces," center Travis Frederick said. "Often times it brings perspective to us that we play a game for a living, and whether we're winning or losing, it doesn't mean anything compared to a lot of these kids that are fighting for their lives."
Under the guidance of Mrs. Gene Jones, the entire Cowboys team has made annual trips to local children's hospitals for the last 29 years. Each child received a "game sock" loaded with goodies from the Cowboys and a special toy provided by the UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation.
The Cowboys (6-6) are still in the playoff hunt after last Thursday's 38-14 win over the Washington Redskins. A pivotal road game against the New York Giants is next. Before that, they enjoyed starting the week bringing smiles to children in need.
"Playing for the Dallas Cowboys, we're on a great platform to be able to give back and put a smile on someone's face," linebacker Jaylon Smith said. "It's something we're good at, it's something we love, and it's healthy for us as well. It's a blessing."