DALLAS (WNDU) --- The Notre Dame football team pressed pause on last-minute preparations for the Cotton Bowl, visiting patients at a Dallas hospital. Players and coaches spent an hour at the Children's Medical Center Thursday.
"It gets them out of (their) situation," said Francisco Gonzalez, of Carrollton, Texas. "(The visit) lifts their spirits -- just to have fun and smile more."
Gonzalez's 7-year-old son, Frank, had been in the hospital for roughly three days when the Notre Dame athletes visited him and several children. They posed for pictures, signed memorabilia and even challenged kids to dance contests.
Henry Graves, 10, was named the team's honorary captain for the Cotton Bowl. Head coach Brian Kelly presented the cystic fibrosis patient -- and fellow New England Patriots fan -- with a Notre Dame football jersey.
"We should not take it easy on (Clemson)?" Kelly asked of his honorary captain.
"Yeah, you've got to go hard!" Graves exclaimed.
During Notre Dame's visit, Goodyear, the Cotton Bowl title sponsor, presented a $10,000 check to the Children's Medical Center Dallas.