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NFL Superstar Rob Gronkowski Surprises Patients at Shriners Children's New England

Gronkowski with three other people

Robbie the Elf poses with three of his biggest fans: long-time patient Noah, his father, Kevin, and younger brother, Cole.

Retired NFL superstar Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski made a surprise visit to Shriners Children’s New England in Springfield on December 20, 2022. The four-time Super Bowl champ came to spread holiday cheer to patients and their families.

Dressed as “Robbie the Elf,” Gronk shot hoops, painted, played air hockey and soccer, and even tried his hand at some origami. He brought gifts for each patient that included footballs, jerseys and sneakers, all of which he was happy to autograph.

“We are so honored that Rob chose to visit Shriners Children’s New England this holiday season,” said Frances Marthone, Ph.D., RN, administrator at Shriners Children’s New England. “He was extremely generous with his time and really brought a smile to our patients and staff. Many of our patients have conditions that will affect them for the rest of their lives. It can be quite challenging for the child but also the family. It’s so wonderful to be able to provide them all with an experience they will never forget!”

Eleven-year-old Sam, from Lynnfield, Massachusetts, was one of the patients who met with Mr. Gronkowski, along with his younger brother, Ben, and mother, Michelle. Sam wanted to say this to Mr. Gronkowski: “My brother and I were so excited to meet you! Thank you for all you shared with us, and for sharing your time with kids like me!”

Michelle expressed her gratitude to Shriners Children’s: “On behalf of Sam, Ben and myself, I just wanted to thank you and the entire Shriners team and organization for making two young boys’ dreams come true! This is a day that we will never forget! The boys so enjoyed their experience and are beyond grateful! We are so blessed that because of Shriners' hard work, Sam is thriving and growing. He is a real testament to what excellent care means in the life of a child who needs it!"

Rob Gronkowski Visit to Shriners Children's New England

Robbie the Elf, aka Rob Gronkowski made a surprise visit to Shriners Children’s New England to spread holiday cheer! The former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers star brought gifts, played basketball, soccer, and air hockey and spent time painting and tackling the art of origami with patients. He truly made our holidays unforgettable!
View Transcript


Rob Gronkowski:

Hey, Peyton


Oh, what?

Rob Gronkowski:

What's up, man? How you doing? Nice to meet you, brother.

One, go.

Speaker 3:

[inaudible 00:00:14]

Rob Gronkowski:

So far it might be the best thing I've ever done in my life.


Speaker 4:

We got to do it [inaudible 00:00:26].

Rob Gronkowski:


Speaker 5:

I played a little tight end.

Rob Gronkowski:

There we go. How many touchdowns did you have in your career?

Speaker 5:

No many. I mean ...

Rob Gronkowski:

Other Patriots, you could have them sign it as well.

Let me get behind you.

Speaker 6:

That's a good one. Good one.

Speaker 7:

[inaudible 00:00:53]

Rob Gronkowski:

Yes, how you doing. Good to meet you, man. How you doing.

That's super [inaudible 00:00:57].

Speaker 8:

[inaudible 00:00:57] to laugh out loud.

Rob Gronkowski:


[end screen] Shriners Children's New England logo

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