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Healing through play

The Sullivan Playground at Amplatz Children's Hospital. (Photo: Erin Benner)

Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan knows he’s fortunate to play a game for a living. And because of that good fortune, he’s giving patients at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital and their siblings a place to play, too.

Sullivan pledged $150,000 last fall to create the Sullivan Playground, a safe and accessible space designed by Minnesota company Landscape Structures for children of all abilities. Vikings teammate Chad Greenway, through his Lead the Way Foundation, and the Minnesota Vikings football organization also have committed $25,000 each to the $200,000 project.

“It’s such a great cause,” Sullivan says. “I just wanted, as soon as I found myself in the position, to do what little I could to give back.”

John Sullivan at the grand opening on the Sullivan Playground. (Photo: Erin Benner)

Opening this month, the Sullivan Playground incorporates therapeutic, sensory, and developmental elements, as well as a mix of climbing, sliding, and spinning activities. A bonus: some evidence suggests that play can actually help kids heal faster.

“And [it can] just bring some smiles to their faces,” Sullivan adds. “That’s what it’s all about.”

By Nicole Endres

For more information about how you can support Amplatz Children’s Hospital, visit or contact Elizabeth Patty at (612) 625-6136 or

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