Bulldogs Feel Better after Making Rounds at Children's Hospital

Dec. 18, 2015

NEW ORLEANS - Although sidelined with injuries for Saturday's R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, eight Louisiana Tech football players were still able to make a valuable contribution to Bowl Week Thursday by spreading some Bulldog gifts and cheer and love at Children's Hospital.

The only free-standing hospital in the state dedicated to those ages 0 to 21, Children's Hospital welcomed student-athletes Matthew Ydarraga from Central, James Jackson of Haynesville, Jonathan Hughes of Lake Charles, Hakim Gray of Keachi, Jarred Craft from Haughton, Cam Manning of Southlake, Texas, and Mississippians Ephram Kitchen (Batesville), Kirby Wixson (Pearl). The Bulldogs spent 90 minutes on several floors, going room to room to hand out New Orleans Bowl footballs, pullover caps, T-shirts and LA Tech gear.

"It feels good to give back to the community and talk to kids and hear what they have to say," said Ydarraga, a redshirt freshman defensive end recovering from knee surgery. "It was fun to give them some LA Tech stuff; they were excited to get it."

The hospital treats everything from broken bones to tonsillitis to more serious problems that require advanced treatment.

"All we've heard about this hospital is great things," said Brian Scott, grandfather of 1-month-old Braden, hospitalized to correct a cyst that's caused him trouble sleeping. The treatment seems to be working; he napped in a zebra-striped blanket in the arms of his mother Hope while four Bulldogs were in his room.



"They live in Mississippi; we told them and their friends there told them to come here to Children's Hospital so they could get this thing straightened out," said Braden's grandmother, Ernestina. "This place is the best."

One 11-year-old patient, Daniel Davis of Hammond, wanted to talk basketball, specifically the New Orleans Pelicans and the play of their All-Star center.

"This guy was analyzing Anthony Davis' game!" said Hughes, a redshirt freshman wide receiver still on crutches. "He's talking about how he needs to get more involved in the offense, how the defense has got to help him more. I had to change the conversation back to football because we couldn't keep up with him."

"He was a cool kid," Ydarraga said. "The whole thing was neat. We enjoyed it as much as they did."

For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, please follow Louisiana Tech on social media at @LATechFB (Twitter), /LATechFootball (Facebook) and @LATechFB (Instagram) or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.


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