NASHVILLE, Tenn. —
Hutchinson, a 12-year veteran and seven-time Pro Bowl guard who signed with the Titans in March, has spent the past six offseasons raising money for and visiting children with heart defects at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
Hutchinson and former Wolverines teammate Brian Griese first partnered on the Champions for Children’s Hearts event in 2007, 10 years after they won the 1997 NCAA title, as a fundraiser and reunion. Last year, 1997 Heisman winner Charles Woodson joined Hutchinson and Griese as co-chairs. This year’s banquet, auction and golf tournament in May raised $1.35 million for the children’s hospital, which opened the Michigan Congenital Heart Center in December. Champions for Children’s Hearts has raised $5.5 million during its six years.
“We didn’t think it would get to be as big as it did,” Hutchinson said. “The sponsors have been unbelievable. The donors have been unbelievable. For us to average about a million dollars a year from a one-weekend golf tournament with a banquet the night before has well-exceeded our expectations.”
Hutchinson said his favorite part of the weekend is always visiting with the children in the hospital and bringing smiles to faces of children facing medical challenges during stays at the hospital that can last for months.
The cause gained an even more personal attachment for Hutchinson last year when he learned through a medical exam that he has a heart defect. The revelation shocked him and cast a doubt on whether he would be able to continue his career. The 34-year-old, however, received clearance to play.
“I found out that I have something,” Hutchinson said. “It isn’t life-threatening. It’s just one in 100 people, they are finding out, is born with some sort of heart defect. There’s a whole range of how debilitating they are and can be. Fortunately for me, (through) intuitive testing I did last summer, I found out that I’m cleared to play, but it’s a little bit of a scare until you know that it’s not going to affect you.”
Roos, who has never missed a start with the Titans since his 2005 rookie season, received an excuse from practice this week to prepare for hosting the third annual Fish & Chip Tournament in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, this weekend to raise money for the Michael Roos Foundation.
The weekend’s events include the unique pairing of bass fishing and golf tournaments to raise money for the foundation that benefits children’s organizations. Roos and his wife, Katherine, started the foundation in 2006 with the mission of offering comfort and support to children who are enduring emotional, physical or mental distress.
Roos has received help from Titans teammates and other past and present NFL players who team with others in the fishing and golf tournaments.