24 members of a patient-care group boarded a bus after a tailgate-party celebration.
Dressed in matching T-shirts and carrying cardboard-cutout images of co-workers who couldn’t go with them, a group of 24 patient-care team members from Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s 5 Waldemere Tower boarded a bus today and headed for Super Bowl LV in Tampa.
The medical team was the first group of 7,500 medical professionals invited by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to attend the title game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It’s the first time a Super Bowl has hosted the home team in NFL in history.
The men and women were treated to a tailgate-party lunch sponsored by numerous local businesses and they signed a banner of thanks before departing.
The SMH team lobbied to get a block of seats at Raymond James Stadium by sending a video to the Super Bowl host committee earlier this month. They were surprised by Goodell during a routine Zoom staff meeting that they were heading to the big game.
According to the NFL, the majority of the invited health care workers -- all of whom will have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine – come from hospitals and health care systems in the Tampa and central Florida area. They received free Super Bowl tickets and gameday experiences directly from the NFL.
All 32 NFL clubs will select vaccinated health care workers from their communities to attend the Super Bowl.
There will also be 14,500 additional fans in attendance.