What a great morning Wednesday was at Shriners Hospitals for Children.
St. Louis Cardinals players Skip Schumaker, Mitchell Boggs and Allen Craig visited the patients along with Fredbird. The players’ wives, Lele Boggs and Marie Craig, also joined along for a morning of meeting patients, signing autographs and posing for photos.
But that wasn’t all. The patients had a big surprise in store for the Cardinals: a few lessons on what it’s like to have a disability. The kids put the players through the paces, taking them through activities that demonstrated challenges such as difficulties in walking, using a wheelchair and having one hand.
Patient Ambassador Belinda Eckert challenged Allen Craig to pick up coins from the floor while sitting in a wheelchair. Once he picked up most the coins, she tipped the cup to make him drop them on the floor all over again. “You’re mean!” Craig protested, while many of patients giggled knowingly. After awhile, Craig’s teammates and a couple of Patient Ambassadors jumped in to help him.
“I think the patients really got a kick out of watching these professional athletes struggle good-naturedly with some of the challenges they face on a daily basis,” said Barb Sacco, director of child life and recreational therapy. “Fredbird and Mitchell Boggs got a lot of laughs from the kids when they tried to tie their sneakers one-handed. It brought the players to the kids’ level and made everyone feel more comfortable, too.”