DALLAS, Texas – A dose of perspective is always a good thing – especially in the depths of what certainly qualifies as a disappointing football season.
The past few months haven't been ideal for the Dallas Cowboys in their endeavors on the football field. Despite a 3-8 record, though, their impact in the community was never made clearer than Wednesday.
Across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Cowboys players stopped by local children's hospitals to pay visits to patients. Team members stopped at Children's Medical Center, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children and Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas, as well as Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.
Based on the reactions in the hallways and patients' rooms, the magnitude of the visit meant a lot more than this year's wins and losses.
"It definitely changes you. Any time you see these young kids and just their perseverance and their ability to be able to fight this, it makes you appreciate the good things you have in your life, the health of your family," said Jason Witten. "More than anything else you really respect the families, the way they approach it and really the hospital – the staff, the doctors and nurses, the complete staff – just how they do this as a career and the lives that they impact."
Witten was one of just dozens of players to visit with the young patients and their families, as the Cowboys fanned out across the entire Metroplex. The Pro Bowl tight end was joined at Children's Medical Center by Darren McFadden, Jeremy Mincey, Dan Bailey, Byron Jones and others.
Now in his 13th season with the Cowboys, Witten said he's gained a greater appreciation for what it means to be able to play an active role in the community, especially when that means an opportunity to make a day brighter for a young fan.
"Playing for this organization, you understand that you have a platform and an opportunity to be able to give back and be a role model and what that means," he said. "To be able to see them talk about you and light up when they see you, that never gets old. The older you get as a player, the more you appreciate that."