Texas football players standing next to young pediatric patient

About 40 young patients tried their luck hooking catfish with University of Texas Longhorn football players Denzel Okafor, Rafiti Ghirmai, Tope Imade and Ta’Quon Graham recently at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin, part of Ascension Texas.

The event, now in its 11th year, drew about 40 patients to the Healing Garden where the players, volunteers and representatives of Larry’s Fish Farm helped them catch and release from a pool filled with more than 300 catfish.

“We really care about how the kids feel, that they see our faces,” Ta’Quon told KVUE. “We’re smiling and taking pictures, you know, fishing with them, just having a good time.”

“This gives them the opportunity to get their stress off their mind,” said Larry Spitzenberger, with Larry’s Fish Farm. “It gives them a little pleasure to bring out that smile they haven’t had in days sometimes.”

The children received a photo with the football players and a trophy for catching a fish.