Children's Chris Pontius and Rolfe
Pablo Maurer

D.C. United pays special visit to Children's National Medical Center

Photo Credit: Pablo Maurer

Walking into the atrium, it doesn’t feel like a hospital at all. Light floods in through the skylight of Children'’s National Medical Center, with colorful blimps that occupy the space above your head. The children have ear-to-ear smiles and are full of happiness, pulling your attention away from their hospital gowns, wheelchairs and bandages.

“I love this visit,” D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius said. “I think its rewarding to see these kids and hopefully put a smile on their faces, even if it’s just for a few minutes.”

Together, the patients and United players, including Davy Arnaud, Steven Birnbaum, Bobby Boswell, Sean Franklin, Perry Kitchen, Collin Martin, Chris Pontius and Chris Rolfe, colored soccer-themed pictures and D.C. United logos, danced and played video games.

“We have the ability to affect kids in a way many don’t,” Pontius said.

For Collin Martin, visiting Children’s holds a special place in his memory and in his heart; Martin’s father is a cardiologist at the hospital.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid with my dad,” Martin stated. “This place helps a lot of people in the area.”

After Boswell, Franklin, Arnaud, Martin and Pontius made personal room visits with a few kids who could not make it downstairs, Martin remained behind with his father.

“I am going to see a bunch of people I knew when I was younger,” Martin said. “I enjoy coming here; it means a lot to the kids that are here.”

This special visit holds meaning for both the children and the players.

Said Pontius: “For me, this is one of the best appearances we do and the most rewarding, personally."

To view the full photo gallery, click here.