This coming Saturday, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will continue one of the best traditions in college football when the Blazers play the 6th annual Children’s Harbor Homecoming game against Middle Tennessee at Protective Stadium with the names of Children’s Harbor patients on their backs.
In 2016, UAB Head Coach Bill Clark and the team adopted Children’s Harbor as their community charity. Each season since then, UAB football players have worn their popular alternate green and lime homecoming jerseys with the name of a Children’s Harbor child, stitched on the back.
This year there are 92 patients being honored.
Bigger Than This Team
“We honor them. We play in memory of them,” Head Coach Bryant Vincent said at his Monday morning press conference. “It’s a game and tradition we take very seriously here that we are very proud of — it’s what this program is about. It’s about things bigger than this team and this program.”
Over 500 Children’s Harbor children and their families have been remembered and honored since the beginning of the tradition.
“We are so excited and so blessed to enter the sixth year of this partnership with UAB football,” said Cat Outzen, CEO at Children’s Harbor. “At Children’s Harbor our mission is to strengthen the families of seriously ill children with respite, refuge and resources. This game means so much to the children and the families that we serve. They look forward to it every year. This is something that will stay with these families, these children and these players for a lifetime.”
Also on hand at the press conference were UAB senior Devodric Bynum and Kelle Sanders. They were joined by Children’s Harbor patient D’Ariya Larry.
As a father whose daughter faced medical complications early in her life, Bynum talked about how this game touches him every year.
“I feel like this game is really the most important game because the names who we play for on the back of our jerseys mean a lot to us. Some of us have kids, I have kids. My daughter was born four months early, so she had complications as well. It touched me probably more than anyone.”
Sanders added, “Any time you can play for anything that’s bigger than you, it’s special. Playing for something like this is truly special because knowing that you can be someone’s limelight for three and a half hours. It’s just, being there for somebody, for the game, it’s special.”
Mark Your Calendar
UAB’s homecoming game against Middle Tennessee kicks off on Saturday, October 8th, 2:30PM at Protective Stadium. Before the game, enjoy Blazer Village, a family-friendly pregame fan fest, which offers music, games and face painting.
Be a part of UAB’s special homecoming tradition with Children’s Harbor.