The Atlanta Braves participated in their annual "Christmas in July" hospital visits on July 18. Braves personalities, players, and employees visited Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) and Shepherd Center.
Atlanta's big leaguers helped spread the cheer by mingling with patients and their families and distributing toys collected during the annual Braves Wives Toy Drive held earlier this season at Turner Field.
Participants included Tim Hudson, Dan Uggla, Matt Diaz, Jack Wilson, David Ross, managerFredi Gonzalez, third base coach Brian Snitker, pitching coach Roger McDowell, hitting coach Greg Walker, and Braves broadcasters Don Sutton, Chip Caray and Jim Powell. Members of the Braves Wives Association including Pam Gonzalez, Kim Hudson, Leslee Diaz, Julie Wilson, Hyla Ross, Ronnie Snitker, Carman Walker, Janette Repsch and Emmy Powell also attended the event.
Braves employees and players who visited Children's Healthcare played games with the younger kids and helped them create arts and crafts projects. David Ross, Tim Hudson, and Matt Diaz spoke to patients in the B.R.A.I.N. Program which was created for teenagers with acquired brain injuries. They touched on the importance of keeping a positive attitude, working hard, and making goals.
Martin Prado, Tommy Hanson and Fredi Gonzalez were among the group visiting Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation hospital specializing in treatment for people with spinal cord injury or brain injury. They made stops at various Shepherd Center facilities including several rehabilitation gyms and the brain injury floor and handed out Braves hats and t-shirts to the patients.
The visits were a highlight not only for the patients, but for all of the Braves employees, players, and representatives involved.