INDIANAPOLIS - Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, is deepening his commitment to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and has agreed to donate funds and his time to support the Riley at IU Health School Program which ensures that young patients can stay on track academically while hospitalized.
Luck’s initial relationship with Riley at IU Health began in April 2013 with the launch of the “Change the Play” program, an initiative he helped develop in partnership with Riley at IU Health designed to teach kids how to be the quarterback of their health and wellness.
Staffed by seven licensed teachers, the Riley at IU Health School Program coordinates assignments with patients’ schools and provides tutoring opportunities to all inpatients grades K-12 throughout their hospital stay.
Luck himself will serve as the newest tutor on the block, volunteering some of his free time to help patients complete homework assignments, science experiments and other fun-filled educational activities at the hospital.
In addition, Luck is donating personal funds to Riley Children’s Foundation to enrich the Riley at IU Health School Program. Two of his supporters, companies Chegg and Lenovo, are also providing free textbooks and tablets to patients and program staff.
“Ensuring children have access to a good education and seamless learning is something I’m passionate about,” said Luck. “Helping support the Riley School Program is incredibly important to me because no child should have his or her academic goals sidelined by illness or injury.”
Luck, a gifted athlete, has put education and football on equal footing throughout his career. He graduated valedictorian of his high-school class and even turned down fast-track offers to join the NFL so he could complete his degree from Stanford University. Luck, Riley at IU Health and Riley Children’s Foundation are committed to inspiring kids everywhere to prioritize a good education, since health and education are inextricably linked.
Change the Play, the program Luck designed in partnership with Riley at IU Health, not only emphasizes the importance of physical fitness and good nutrition, it also teaches kids to take care of themselves holistically, by exercising their minds, keeping stress in check, getting sufficient sleep and modeling positive health behaviors to peers and family members. Change the Play is slated to further combine Luck’s passion for health and education as it rolls out in area schools in early 2014.
Last academic year, the Riley at IU Health School Program consulted with more than 6,000 families. Out of those consultations, the program provided comprehensive school services to approximately 850 patients and their families. Students like 12-year-old Emily Hume, Seymour, Ind., who has been hospitalized since July 4, 2013, due to a mysterious heart virus. Hume has been tethered to the Berlin Heart device for months, a machine that allows her heart to regain its strength. To keep up with her studies, she works with a Riley at IU Health teacher each day—even Skyping at times with her hometown teachers and classmates. “If this program didn’t exist, I’d have weeks and weeks of homework to catch up on when I go home,” said Hume. “It helps prevent me from having to repeat the 7th grade.” Despite being in the hospital, Hume recently achieved her goal of earning straight A’s, landing her a spot on the high honor roll.
About Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health For more than 85 years, Riley at IU Health has been one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals. Each year, Riley at IU Health provides compassionate care, support and comfort to 215,000 inpatients and outpatients from across Indiana, the nation and the world. Part of Indiana University Health, Riley at IU Health enjoys a unique partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine, giving our highly skilled physicians access to innovative treatments using the latest research and technology.
About Riley Children’s Foundation – Riley Children’s Foundation provides primary philanthropic support to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and Camp Riley and owns and operates the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home.