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Former UGA athletes visit children in hospital

Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Former University of Georgia player David Greene and Trevor Keirns, 7, take a moment for some arts and crafts. Former UGA players Greene and Matt and Jon Stinchcomb visited with children Wednesday morning at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Former University of Georgia player David Greene and Trevor Keirns, 7, take a moment for some arts and crafts. Former UGA players Greene and Matt and Jon Stinchcomb visited with children Wednesday morning at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

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Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Young Georgia Bulldogs fan Preston Johnson, 8, gets an autograph from Parkview High School graduate and former UGA football player Jon Stinchcomb, while mom, Taryn Evans watches. Former UGA players David Greene and Matt and Jon Stinchcomb visited with children Wednesday morning at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

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Staff Photo: Frank Reddy University of Georgia Cheerleader Chloe Deitrich chats with patient Allyssa Jackson, 17. Cheerleaders and former UGA players David Greene and Matt and Jon Stinchcomb visited with children Wednesday morning at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

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Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Jacob Foster, 12, cracks jokes with former University of Georgia football player Matt Stinchcomb. Former UGA players David Greene and Matt and Jon Stinchcomb visited with children Wednesday morning at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

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Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Jesus Duran, 16, visits with former University of Georgia football player Matt Stinchcomb. Former UGA players David Greene and Matt and Jon Stinchcomb visited with children Wednesday morning at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

ATLANTA -- Seven-year-old Trevor Keirns has been in and out of the hospital for much of his life. Infections keep coming back, and his mom said the frequent medical visits are tough on him.

"It's good to get him out of his hospital room, get his mind off things," said Jennifer Keirns, adding that a recent visit from three former University of Georgia football players was just what the boy needed.

As part of "Dawgs Day of Play," former NFL players -- and Gwinnett County Public Schools graduates -- David Greene, Jon Stinchcomb and Matt Stinchcomb visited with kids Wednesday morning at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Wednesday's event was a "Countodwn to Kickoff Fan Festival," Jenny Grifenhagen of the CHOA said.

Greene said it was a chance to "come out and play with the kids."

"To be able to get in here and spend a couple hours with them, it's great," he said. "It's just two hours out of my life, and it's something that's very special for some of them."

Trevor said it was indeed a special time. He and Greene chatted while using magic markers to color two small, plastic football helmets red and black.

Greene, a South Gwinnett High School alum, walked around a large room Wednesday called "The Zone" at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, where he and Jon and Matt Stinchcomb (both Parkview High grads) visited with several dozen hospitalized kids.

Among them: Jacob Foster, 12. The boy watched with a smile as Jon Stinchcomb signed an autograph for him. Foster's mom, Glendia Terrell, said the boy had been up since 4 a.m., because he was so excited.

"He's a big Bulldogs fan," she said.

Jacob said he thought it was "awesome" that the players came to the hospital to see him. "It says that they really care about kids."

Taryn Evans said her son, Preston Johnson, 8, enjoyed his visit with Jon Stinchcomb, who played on the offensive line in the NFL. earning a Super Bowl ring with the New Orleans Saints.

"His father went to UGA, and they go to football games together," Evans said. "His whole room is red and black."

Jon Stinchcomb said it's nice to see the young fans.

"It's all for the kids ... to be able to interact with them and their parents, that's awesome," Jon Stinchcomb said. "These kids are facing some pretty serious situations, and being here reminds us why we do this."

Greene agreed with his fellow UGA grads.

"This is the kind of thing we should do more often," Greene said. "It's really great to be able to be here with them."