IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – Kids’ Day at Kinnick Stadium brought in 13 special guests for a fun filled day with the Hawkeyes.
The 2017 Kid Captains spent Saturday taking a tour of the stadium including the visitor and Hawkeye locker rooms. Each of them were able to see a locker of their own equip with their own Kid Captain jersey.
The Kid Captain program started in 2009 as a way to honor pediatric patients and celebrate their stories. The 2017 captains were selected from 232 nominations over five states.
It was special day for 9-year-old Maddox Smith of Coralville. He’s a huge Hawkeye fan.
“I’m mostly excited to meet the Hawkeye football players,” Maddox said. “I really want to just enjoy the game.”
Doctors removed a tumor from Maddox’s brain just a year ago. As he recovers, he’s still fighting something separate.
“He separately has a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis that causes random mutations and tumor development throughout your body including your brain, but his life threatening tumor had nothing to do with his genetic disorder,” Maddox’s mom Jennifer Smith said. “Poor Maddox has to grapple with neurofibromatosis and the potential risk and current risk for him with that, and still recover from his brain surgery.”
Getting the chance to be a Kid Captain this season means a lot to Maddox and his family.
“He’s been going to Hawkeye football games with me since he was 2, and he loves it. He watches every away game on TV, goes to almost every home game,” Smith said. “It’s overwhelming because he’s so brave and so strong, and he deserves this, totally.”
At the end of tour the captains got the chance to meet some of the Hawkeyes. They then walked hand and hand with them onto the field before practice. Maddox said he’s excited to get back on the field on October 7. His family said he’s always living life to the fullest.
“He’s doing great, he’s so brave, he’s taught us so much, that we just enjoy every single day and try not to worry about what tomorrow will bring, and be grateful that he feels good today,” Smith said.
For the full list of the 2017 Kid Captains and their game dates visit this website.