MINNEAPOLIS – Stefon Diggs doesn’t like to lose, but he was a good sport Tuesday night.
Diggs played against 14-year-old Quinn McCullough in Madden and lost a close contest by three points.
“I lose sometimes,” Diggs said, laughing. “It was fair and square, though. I don’t mind when it’s fair and square.”
The wide receiver – of course – played as the Vikings, and Quinn played as the Redskins. Ironically, because the teams were the 2017 rosters, Kirk Cousins was Quinn’s Madden quarterback.
“C’mon, Kirk!” Quinn exclaimed when the game version threw a touchdown pass to Josh Doctson.
“[Andrew] Sendejo almost caught him!” Diggs yelled back.
On the sideline, a rendition of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer shook his head at the score.
“Uh-oh, Coach Zimmer’s mad. That happens a lot, actually,” Diggs quipped.
Stefon Diggsvisited with patients and their families at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital with a toy drive.
The two gamers were supported by Quinn’s older brother, Luke, and parents Shawn and Vallie.
Shawn explained that Quinn was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, which he had repaired at just 10 days old but spent three-and-a-half months in the hospital due to complications. Quinn is now at a point where he needs to have a new valve put in his heart, but because of additional complications that have cropped up in his colon and abdomen, he isn’t able to have the surgery until he is healthier.
“He had an abdominal operation … and spent time in the summer and fall here at the hospital,” Vallie explained. “But he’s doing much better now.”
She added that it was “wonderful” to see Quinn end a rough year on such a fun note.
“The fact that Stefon would come out and spend time with him, I think this is something that Quinn will remember for a long time, and it’s something positive from this year that he can take away from his experience here at the hospital,” Vallie said.
“It was really fun – and pretty cool that I got to meet a professional football player,” Quinn said. “I think it’s cool that Masonic [does things like this] that impacts so many kids.”
Diggs partnered with CenturyLink to give Quinn and several other young people the unique experience at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. Within Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone, a space funded by Diggs’ teammate, a CenturyLink Connect area gives patients and their families a fun spot to play video games.
“Kyle does a heck of a job. He’s up for the Walter Payton Man of the Year [Award], and you can see why,” Diggs said. “This is my first time being in here, but it’s definitely something that I would want to be involved with.”
Prior to playing with Quinn, Diggs competed with six other young people who were also previous patients.
CenturyLink Marketing Manager Wendy Paulson explained that the hospital provided the names of the biggest video game fans and helped put on the event. Quinn was then chosen specifically by CenturyLink to receive a “technology upgrade” and was gifted with a number of new items, including an iPad.
“We like to think CenturyLink works to connect the communities in which our employees and customers live and work,” Paulson said. “So [partnering] with the Masonic Children’s Hospital and the CenturyLink Connect area, and then [having] Diggs in here to spend time with the kids, it all worked together beautifully and paralleled the same mission that we all have, which is the connection of people.”
Diggs said that playing video games was the perfect avenue to bond with Quinn and the other patients.
“I remember once upon a time, my mom used to tell me to stop playing so many video games,” Diggs quipped. “This is just a good way to kind of connect with kids and give back in a way they [enjoy].
“It’s the holiday season, so it’s the season of giving back, and spending time is the biggest thing. Just to see the smile on their faces when I come and hang out for a little while is huge,” Diggs added. “For me, just trying to give that love back always. Seeing kids light up and parents light up, it’s a fun experience.”