Kid Captains take the field at Kinnick Stadium - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Kid Captains take the field at Kinnick Stadium

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Hawkeye football has a new starting line up of Kid Captains.

Fifteen current and former patients at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital will serve as Kid Captains during the Iowa Hawkeyes' 2014 football season, for the sixth year. 

Behind 11-year-old Caitlyn Hill's infectious smile is a battle with a life-threatening illness, showing how courageous she really is.

"I had sickle cell previously, and then I had some strokes," said Caitlyn. "I've gone through something so they decided to give me recognition for it."

On top of that she's had a bone marrow transplant and several surgeries.

"My mom would spend the night with me. One parent would always spend the night with me so I wouldn't be lonely," said Caitlyn.

But for just a few short hours Saturday, none of that mattered.

"Trying on the helmets, the jerseys and getting the stuff," said Caitlyn. "I'm excited that we'll get to see some of the players on the field and see the locker rooms, that's really cool."

Caitlyn is just one of the fifteen kid captains. It's a partnership between University of Iowa Children's Hospital and the Iowa Hawkeyes to honor pediatric patients and celebrate their inspirational stories.

10-year old Liam Feeley is also a 2014 Kid Captain.

He's battling a rare genetic disorder resulting in missing bones in both arms had no problem getting around.

"You got to do what every Hawkeye player has done coming out of the tunnel," said Liam. "I got to meet the Hawkeye players"

The Kid Captains toured the locker rooms and took the field with Hawkeye football players.

For Caitlyn, Liam and all the Kid Captains, being able to take a break from their illness to sit on the sidelines and recharge gave them a new load of defense, all to tackle their life-threatening illnesses head on.

Each Kid Captains' story will be shared throughout the 2014 football season.

They were selected from a field of 345 nominations from nine different states.

 

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