Husker men’s basketball team visits Nebraska Heart Hospital

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Nebraska men’s basketball team is weeks into summer workouts, but some of the most important work they’ve put in this summer is in the community.

Tuesday night, the team went to the Nebraska Heart Hospital to visit with patients, tour the hospital and learn about treatments.

“This obviously is near and dear, no pun intended, to my heart,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. 

Hoiberg knows exactly what the patients at the hospital are going through.

He had open heart surgery in 2005 and again in 2015.

“You know, to see people who have gone through the procedure, and you know, it just really brings back a flood of emotions,” Hoiberg said. 

Bringing the team in for a visit was the encouragement he knew the patients would appreciate.

Hoiberg is now on his second pacemaker and remembers how much visitors helped with his own recovery.

“To have people come and visit, it really is uplifting, and you know you need that when you’re going through it,” he said. “You have so many different emotions as you go through the recovery.”

Derek Vance, the president of CHI Health St. Elizabeth and Nebraska Heart said he could tell how special being at the hospital was for Hoiberg.

“I could tell it was personal for him,” he said. “Having gone through something similar in his own life and being able to interact with patients along with his student-athletes, the players.”

Senior guard Emmanuel Bandoumel said, “Seeing Coach overcoming this huge challenge that he had to [go] through and he had two heart surgeries, it’s just amazing.”Coach Hoiberg and team talking with heart hospital patient

The joy on the patients’ faces said it all. The team made an impact as soon as they stepped foot in the hospital rooms.

“To have a whole or even a partial collegiate basketball team to walk in your room, it’s gotta be the last thing you expect,” Vance said.

The visit made a noticeable impact on a Husker team that is working to make a difference in its community.

“It just makes you more appreciative about stuff,” Bandoumel said. “Just walking can be tough, just getting up can be a hard battle, and for us it’s like common and basic things, and for other people it’s something way, way tougher.”

Hoiberg said, “We’ve got a great group of kids this year. They want to go out and make a difference and they are doing a phenomenal job so far this summer.”

Categories: Husker Sports, Sports