COLUMBIA, Mo. — Football fans watch them every Thursday night on television, but patients at MU’s Children’s Hospital enjoyed the thrill of meeting ESPN’s Thursday Night Football broadcasting team in person when they visited Children’s Hospital on Oct. 7.
Chris Fowler, Craig James, Jesse Palmer and Erin Andrews spent 45 minutes touring the hospital and visiting with patients. Fowler, James, Palmer and Andrews are in Columbia for ESPN’s broadcast of the Missouri Tigers football game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers Thursday night.
Colby Fitch, 14, of Columbia, Mo., was one of the patients visited by the ESPN broadcast team. Fitch describes himself as a huge sports fan. His hospital room is decorated with Missouri Tigers T-shirts, balloons and footballs. Naturally, Fitch was thrilled by the surprise visit and the opportunity to talk football with ESPN’s team of football experts. When asked about Thursday night’s game, Fitch had no reservations about making a prediction.
“I told them that Mizzou is going to win by a lot,” said Fitch.
Colby Fitch with ESPN crew
Mary Fitch, Colby’s mother, says ESPN is a staple at their house. Sportscenter is on the television in the family’s home every morning. The surprise visit provided her son a nice distraction during what has been a difficult week in the hospital.
Accompanying Fowler, James, Palmer and Andrews on the tour of Children’s Hospital were Timothy Fete, M.D., medical director of Children’s Hospital, chair of the MU School of Medicine’s Department of Child Health and Children’s Miracle Network Professor in Pediatrics, and Keri Simon, executive director of Columbia Regional Hospital. MU Health Care is consolidating Children’s Hospital services at Columbia Regional Hospital and plans to open mid-Missouri’s most comprehensive health care facility dedicated to pediatric patients at CRH in the summer of 2010.
Top Left: University of Missouri Children's Hospital mascot, T.J., poses for a picture with from left, ESPN's Chris Fowler, Jesse Palmer, Craig James and Erin Andrews during their visit to the hospital on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009.
Top Middle: University of Missouri Children's Hospital patient Marlo Hill Jr. has his cast signed by ESPN reporter Erin Andrews during her visit to the hospital on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009. ESPN personalities visited patients and gave them autographed ESPN shirts during their visit.
Top Right: ESPN analysts Craig James, left, and Jesse Palmer visit with University of Missouri Children's Hospital patient Brandon Young in his room at the hospital during their visit Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009.