Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews made one of his plays off the field recently, when he reached out to a Kalispell, Mont. teen batting serious medical problems in a Spokane hospital.
16-year-old Samantha Deneault should be struggling with sophomore English, but instead she's spent the past 140 days fighting for her life at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Sam is a lifelong Packers fan, and Clay Matthews caught her eye for a number of reasons, including his commitment to his team, so when friends back home asked what Sam wanted for Christmas her family joked someone should gift wrap the linebacker.
Somehow the request got to Matthews, and the day after the Packers - 49's game Matthews recorded a video especially for Sam.
"Hi Samantha, this is Clay Matthews, linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. I just want to commend you on being so strong, especially in light of your many illnesses and surgeries you've been going through. I think it's very courageous," Matthews said in the video.
Matthews even took the time to recognize Sam's mom Shelly for the 140 days she's spent by her daughter's side. The linebacker's thoughtfulness was some powerful medicine.
"It's kind of opened my eyes more to the fact that there are actually people out there who do care and it's more about the patients and their family," Sam said.
The good news is that Sam's worst medical problems are now behind her and she could be leaving Sacred Heart for one closer to home by the end of the week.