Kids With Cancer - Back in the Game

Back In The Game: 6 Ways Teams Can Help Their Teammate With Cancer

When your child loves a sport, getting sidelined can be one of the worst parts of cancer treatment. But there are ways to help him feel like he’s still part of the team. In fact, his teammates can be a big part of his healing.

1. Have Him Show Up.

Depending on the activity, your child’s age, and his level of immune suppression, it might still be appropriate to have him suit up, come to a game, and sit with his teammates on the bench.

Sometimes, that’s not going to be appropriate because of his health. But when he can, letting him be physically there and feel like he’s still part of the team can be helpful.

2. Find Her A Job.

If the child is physically able to do something else, it might help to identify a job to do. Maybe she doesn’t have the ability to run on the field, but she could be the team photographer or timekeeper. Or maybe she could help with equipment, helmets, and bats.

3. Let Him Celebrate.

It could also be good for your child to go on team outings when he can, like a team lunch, a group party in the park, or ice cream after the game. Team events off the field will help your child feel involved.

4. Figure Out Ways She Can Help From A Distance.

If your child is stuck in the hospital, she might like editing the team photos on her laptop. She could put together a collage and email it to her teammates, or turn some of the photos into memes for social media. It’s a fun way to stay in touch and use her creativity.

5. Ask The Coach About A Special Message.

When kids are in the hospital, some teams do a special message from the field. A recorded thought, hello, or tribute can mean a lot to a child who’s sick.

Kids with Cancer - Back in the Game

An onsite visit can be a joy, too. We recently had a group of classmates come to Children’s after a beautiful, fresh snow. The child in treatment at the hospital got to watch as his teammates plowed “We love Mike” right outside of the inpatient windows. Everyone in the hospital was talking about it.

6. Make Sure She’s There For The Picture.

It’s best if your child can be there for the team picture, too. That picture will remind her that she’s still part of a group that feels like family. It’s still her group, and she hasn’t been abandoned.

Her team and her sport give her something to look forward to next season—something that can give her a real boost as she fights to regain her health.

Christy Hogan
My background is in child development, and I use this knowledge to connect and build trust with patients and families. I’ve been a child life specialist for more than 20 years.

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