Blues forward Philip McRae
visited patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, and Tim Fannon probably smiled more during that five-minute visit than he has in all of the last three weeks.
Fannon’s son, Sam, is suffering from a traumatic brain injury that occurred late on August 6, when the Mazda 6 he was driving on a windy road in Waterloo, IL flipped and rolled over several times. The accident injured Sam and all four of his passengers, one of which died from injuries sustained in the crash.
All five of the injured would have entered 11th grade at Waterloo High School this fall.
So for Fannon, who says he’s practically lived at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for the last three weeks as his son’s life was saved and as he now enters the rehab process, the smiles have been few and far between. But as a long-time Blues fan, Tim remembers watching Philip’s father, Basil, play for the Blues in the early '90s. And seeing Philip there for a few minutes Tuesday was enough to elicit some happiness, at least for a short time.
“It’s great to see players give back to the community, to take time out of their day and come visit and share their time with the kids,” Fannon said. “Whether it’s Jon Jay with the Cardinals or Mr. McRae, they take time out of their day, so we appreciate it.
“I’m sure it might give (the kids) a little boost and hopefully Sam remembers it.”
Fannon said that Sam is able to recognize his family and maintained some of his functional skills. He started therapy this week but has a long road ahead to recovery.
“It’s definitely hard to see some of the kids not having a great day, and to see some of the conditions they’re in,” McRae said. “(But) it’s always nice to come down to the hospital. If you can put a smile on a face or two, then it’s definitely time well spent.
“A lot of the parents are down, too. It’s obviously very difficult to see a child in the conditions they’re in, if you can make their day a little brighter and put a smile on the kid’s face, too, it’s definitely for a good cause.”
During his nearly two-hour visit, McRae presented gifts to the hospitalized patients and their families, signed autographs and posed for photos.
“We’re old school hockey fans. We like the fights and the penalties and people sticking up for each other,” Fannon said. “Basil was one of those players that wouldn’t let anybody take any liberties on the ice, and that’s what we like…old school hockey.
“We haven’t left the hospital since the accident, so when you see someone like Philip come in, it’s touching.”