It was anything but a standard hospital visit for Kansas City Chiefs' center Mitch Morse on Thursday afternoon, as the fourth-year offensive lineman hugged, laughed and chatted with a handful of young adults at the University of Kansas Health System.
Morse, who came up with the idea himself just a few days prior, went room-to-room visiting patients and made a point of really getting to know each person he met along the way.
"I think whenever you have an opportunity to do things like this with a little lull time in your schedule, you take advantage of it – especially for kiddos who may be going through a tough time," Morse said. "It's even more for their family, sometimes. The kids could care less who you are, but I think sometimes it means something to the parents. If you're able to help even just a little bit throughout the day, as cliché as it sounds, it can mean a ton."
Morse did plenty of that, often closing off the rooms he visited from anyone else in order to achieve more authentic interactions.
"It's great to have the media there sometimes, but the best conversations you have are when you close the door and it's just you guys talking," Morse explained. "That way you can just be a person and talk to them, it's like you don't even have the jersey on. As a football player, you want to be able to talk to people normally and it's the same way for these kids, they're already talking to enough doctors and nurses, sometimes you just want to have a normal conversation."
It was something that resonated with every patient that Morse had a chance to meet.
"We've had a lot of visitors over the years and sometimes I have to help push them along a little bit, but with Mitch he just goes for it," said Andrea Smith, a Child Life Specialist at the hospital. "He's actually shut the door on me a couple of times and just gone for it himself. The kids really enjoy having those guys around that can make them smile."
Morse achieved that and more some on Thursday.
"Kids are in their purest form…they just want to have fun," Morse said. "A lot of the people I met with were young adults and the kind of attitude that they kept throughout the day (was amazing). They're so engaged and they just wanted to talk it up. I think if anything can distract them from what's going on, I'm here to talk to them about it."