BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The UAB game against South Florida this Saturday is taking on a new meaning.
The UAB Blazers are showing their support for Children’s Harbor, which supports kids who have serious illnesses and their families, by having players wear the kids’ names on the back of their jerseys.
The partnership is a personal one for coach Trent Dilfer who broke down into tears as he recalled his firsthand experience knowing what a place like Children’s Harbor can mean for a hurting family.
“This is not just wearing a jersey and putting names on the back. This is super, super important to the Dilfer family because we lived it,” Dilfer said, overcome with emotion.
Twenty years ago, Dilfer’s five-year-old son Trevin died in the hospital after a battle with heart disease.
“I was in the hospital for 40 days when my son was sick. He was on life support for 40 days at Lucile Packard [Children’s Hospital], we lived in the hospital … I would have done anything to have a Children’s Harbor come serve our family,” Dilfer said, choked up.
For him and his players, that means they’re tackling much more than a game on the field this weekend.
The recognition means the world to the children fighting for their lives and their families.
“Our children absolutely love this game … It has been a true blessing for us,” said Cat Outzen, CEO of Children’s Harbor.
It’s an honor the Blazers don’t take lightly.
“Every time we make a play, I try to tell the guys like, ‘you make a good play, show your back,'” said Keondre Swoopes, UAB football safety.
“We all get caught up in us sometimes, and just to pull that curtain back and see that we really impact people’s lives and to see that we’re doing something bigger than just for ourselves, it’s truly special,” said Jacob Zeno, UAB football quarterback.
The Blazers take on South Florida Saturday at 3 p.m. at Protective Stadium.