College football is steeped in tradition. There’s the “Script Ohio” formation from Ohio State’s marching band, there’s Ralphie the buffalo running onto the field at the University of Colorado and there’s Army’s cadets and Navy’s midshipmen entering their respective stadiums in marching patterns en route to their seats.

But there’s a new college football tradition that may take the cake.

The University of Iowa kicked off “the wave” in their 24-3 win over Wyoming. No, it’s not the standard throw-your-arms-in-the-air “wave” we think of when it comes to sports. It’s an actual mass wave “hello” to children who are sick at a nearby hospital.

“It’s a way for the kids to feel like they’re part of the game day and they’re able to view the game, hear the music, hear the sound and see the hustle and bustle,” Child Life Assistant Ashley Meyer told

University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital sits right next door to Kinnick Stadium, and as you can see in this clip, the location of the hospital gives players, coaches and fans the unique opportunity to give a nod to what truly matters — putting a smile on another person’s face.


Of course, the kids waved back from the top floor of the hospital.

The relationship between the football team and the hospital dates back to 2009 when the “Kid Captain” program was created.

Kid Captain gives the school the chance to honor patients from UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Not only are the inspirational stories of the children who are named Kid Captain shared, but each child receives a commemorative jersey and an invitation to a behind-the-scenes tour of where the Iowa Hawkeyes play.

The team and their fans have also raised money for the hospital with “Touchdowns for Kids,” which encourages fans to donate as much as they want for every touchdown Iowa scores during the season.

You may root for another college team, but who can’t get on board with the Hawkeyes for this one?