U of M Amplatz Children’s Hospital Opens New Playground In Honor of John Sullivan

Posted Jun 4, 2013

John Sullivan

John Sullivan Playground ribbon cutting ceremony to open new playground at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital

Vikings center John Sullivan donated $150,000 to make a new Amplatz Children’s Hospital playground possible. To support Sullivan’s efforts, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway donated $25,000 through his Lead the Way Foundation while the Vikings organization through the Vikings Children’s Fund has contributed the remaining $25,000 for the $200,000 project.

On Wednesday, June 5, a ceremony will take place to officially open the new playground. During the event, the "Sullivan Playground" will open with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring a special patient family. Children wearing "Team Sullivan" t-shirts will celebrate the opening and refreshments will be served.

Immediately following the ceremony, an open house from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. will allow patients and families to test out the new playground.

Ceremony speakers will include: John Sullivan, Joseph Neglia, M.D., M.P.H., University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital Physician-in-Chief, Kathie Taranto, President University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital.

More about the Sullivan Playground
Opening this month, the Sullivan Playground incorporates therapeutic, sensory, and developmental elements, as well as a mix of climbing, sliding, and spinning activities. A bonus: some evidence suggests that play can actually help kids heal faster. Special features of the Sullivan Playground include at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital include:
-- Swaying benches provide a place for parents and children to relax and take in the fresh air.
-- Large motor skills equipment like this climbing net gives patients’ siblings a place to blow off steam.
-- The "talk tube" in this elephant’s trunk allows kids on the ground to communicate with playmates on the structure’s upper deck.
-- A large umbrella provides shade for kids whose treatments make them sensitive to the sun.
-- A cushioned, porous surface makes it easier for children using walkers or wheelchairs to navigate the playground.
-- And because some children at Amplatz must be hooked up to IVs constantly, the playground features the first commercial custom roller slide that allows kids to climb up and slide down without getting tangled up in the equipment.

Vikings center John Sullivan knows he’s fortunate to play a game for a living. And because of that good fortune, he’s giving patients at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital and their siblings a place to play, too.

"It’s such a great cause," Sullivan says. "I just wanted, as soon as I found myself in the position, to do what little I could to give back."

"And [it can] just bring some smiles to their faces," Sullivan adds. "That’s what it’s all about."