For the first time ever, Sporting KC brought a little slice of Children’s Mercy Park to Children’s Mercy hospital in Kansas City on Wednesday night.
Children’s Mercy and Sporting KC teamed up to bring young hospital patients a unique matchday experience, debuting REX – a remote experience robot consisting of an iPad on a pole with a pair of self-balancing wheels – at SKC's 3-0 win against Seattle on Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park.
REX gives patients a behind-the-scenes experience at SKC matches. Kids control the robot, maneuvering it around Children’s Mercy Park, virtually taking in the sights and sounds from the stadium, watching the team warm up and even interacting with players before and after the game. Most importantly, it takes them out of the hospital for a couple of hours, allowing them to simply be a kid at an SKC match – even if they’re physically unable to make it to Children’s Mercy Park.
“Being able to engage with other people and attend a sports event is ‘normal,’ and for kids that are unable to leave their room, this technology is a great way to bring some normalization to their otherwise isolated world,” said Missy Stover, CCLS, manager of Children’s Mercy Child Life volunteer and therapeutic programs. “The patient has total control over the robot and can make choices about where they want to go and who they want to interact with. This is so empowering for kids who might be feeling like they don’t have much choice or control over their healthcare experience.”
Fifteen-year-old Kaylee Brown was one of the first Children’s Mercy patients to test out REX on Wednesday night.
“The coolest part was probably meeting the player,” she said. “I also got to see my brother who was there at the game. I don’t get to go to very many games, so I thought that was fun to actually see him there and know that I was there too.”
Brown and Stover both appeared on SportsCenter on Thursday morning to talk about Brown’s experience with REX on Wednesday.
Click here to learn more about REX.