UAB unveils special homecoming tribute for local children's hospital

FILE – In this July 31, 2017, file photo, UAB NCAA college football head coach Bill Clark talks with media after the teams first practice, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

UAB has a special tribute planned when it hosts Louisiana Tech on Oct. 7.

Instead of having their own last names on the backs of their jerseys, 100 UAB players will instead wear the names of patients at a local children’s hospital, the Children’s Harbor Family Center at Benjamin Russell Hospital, that is located a block away from the UAB campus. The Oct. 7 game is homecoming for the Blazers.

“Children’s Harbor has absolutely become a part of the Blazer family,” UAB head coach Bill Clark said. “I intend for this relationship to grow with our program. As we build, there will be even more we can do to provide encouragement and a positive distraction to support the terrific work Children’s Harbor does.”

UAB said in a news release that a section of the stands at Legion Field will be filled with the honored families. The 100 jerseys worn during the game will be then be “presented to each child and their family after the game.”

Children’s Harbor, which treats seriously ill children, was adopted by UAB as one of its community charities in 2016 with the players making regular visits.

“The joy and enthusiasm that Coach Clark and the UAB players bring to the Children’s Harbor families is palpable and brings a level of healing that is truly beyond our ability alone,” Children’s Harbor CEO Myrle Grate said.

Added UAB athletic director Mark Ingram: “Recognizing these children and their families is a way for UAB to show our support and to let them know they are not in this fight alone. It is going to be a special day at Legion Field at our Homecoming game on Oct. 7 and we hope everyone will join us to take part in something truly unique.”

UAB, in its first season since 2014, is off to a 2-2 start and has a bye this week before returning to the field Oct. 7.

– – – – – – –

Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!