KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eighteen real-life heroes — and "some of the biggest Chiefs fans you’ll ever meet" — got the surprise of a lifetime this week.
The Chiefs and the University of Kansas Health System announced Friday that they selected the frontline health care workers who will attend Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 as guests of the team.
The employees include nurses in ICU units, laboratory professionals and respiratory therapists. In a video posted on social media, the University of Kansas Health System called them "brave men and women" who have spent the past year "putting themselves in harm’s way to help those in our community facing the most dire of circumstances."
The video also showed some of the employees' reactions to the news that they will be attending the Super Bowl. In a few cases, that surprise came from none other than the "Human Joystick," former Kansas City Chiefs return specialist Dante Hall.
We have selected local healthcare heroes to attend Super Bowl LV in Tampa as guests of the team. These guests were invited to recognize their unwavering commitment to their community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 29, 2021
➡️ https://t.co/am4LqBXnH9 pic.twitter.com/ugYI1T9Jum
"It’s an honor to be going to the Super Bowl and it’s an honor to care for COVID-19 patients," Melissa Larson, a medical lab scientist responsible for COVID-19 molecular testing, said in a news release from the health system.
The 18 University of Kansas Health System employees will be among 7,500 frontline workers in attendance at the big game in Tampa, Florida, which will have a limited stadium capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"These individuals, like so many health care workers throughout Chiefs Kingdom and beyond, have given and sacrificed a lot during the ongoing pandemic," Chiefs President Mark Donovan said in a news release. "Inviting them as our guests is one way we can thank them for everything they have done for the residents of Kansas City."
All employees in attendance will have received both doses of the vaccine, according to the health system. The NFL also plans to have additional infection control processes in place at the game.
The University of Kansas Health System is the official health care provider for the Chiefs.