Playground at our children’s hospital opens in honor of Vikings center John Sullivan

Among the features of the Sullivan Playground at
University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital
is a “talk tube” in the elephant’s trunk which allows
kids on the ground to communicate with playmates
on the structure’s upper deck.
June 5, 2013
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held today for new play area outside University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. This is no ordinary playground.

Designed for patients of the children’s hospital and their siblings, its special features include the first commercial outdoor slide designed to allow children with IV tubing to climb up and slide down without getting tangled in the equipment.

This project was made possible by Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan, who donated $150,000 last fall. Vikings teammate Chad Greenway—through his Lead the Way Foundation—and the Minnesota Vikings football organization also committed $25,000 each to the $200,000 project.
Among those at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were
patient Jeremy Gall, 15, and members of his family.
Speakers at the ceremony were Joseph Neglia, MD,
pediatrician-in-chief, (second from right); Kathie
Taranto, hospital president, (third from right);
and, behind her,  Vikings center John Sullivan.

Making a difference in children's lives
“We’re trying to bring a little normalcy to kids who are facing difficult circumstances,” said Sullivan at the ceremony. “I’m happy I can help make a difference in the lives of children.”

“Today, we’re here to celebrate the new ‘Sullivan Playground’…a day our patients and their siblings have been waiting for,” said Joseph Neglia, MD, physician-in-chief at University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital and head of the University’s Department of Pediatrics.

While the hospital treats some of the sickest kids in the state and the nation, there often can be days when a sick child feels well enough to go outside and play, he added.

Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan has been
committed to helping patients at University of
Minnesota Children's Hospital in many
ways since he joined the Vikings in 2008.

A healing environment
Like the hospital itself, the playground is designed to provide the most comfortable and comprehensive healing environment for children and adolescents, said Kathie Taranto, president of University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital.

“It incorporates therapeutic, sensory and development elements, as well as a mix of climbing, sliding and spinning activities,” she said. “Research shows that playing can help in healing.”

The playground was built by Landscape Structures with designs by Flagship Recreation, both Minnesota companies.

In addition to the unique slide, it includes a large umbrella to provide shade for kids whose treatments make them sun-sensitive and a cushioned playground surface that makes it easier for children using walkers or wheelchairs to navigate.

Support our care for children
Find out more about how you can provide hope and support for children's health at University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital. You also can contact Elizabeth Patty at 612-625-6136.

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