‘We could always count on Troy.’ Children’s Hospital staffer recalls Polamalu’s secret visits

"We could always count on Troy." Children's Hospital employees talk about Polamalu's secret visits

PITTSBURGH — A picture of Pittsburgh Steelers legend Troy Polamalu hangs on the 9th floor of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and now we’re learning that it’s because of the secret visits he made to cheer up patients.

Polamalu was always known for his commitment to Pittsburgh and the community, but since his Hall of Fame induction even more stories have become public.

“We could always count on Troy. It was something that every Friday he would come in his gray sweats with his hoodie and hair up,” child life specialist Michael Shulock said.

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Shulock’s job at Children’s is to bring some normalcy to families during a stressful time. He told Channel 11 that Troy did just that by secretly visiting children with cancer on the ninth floor.

“When it was early on in his career and his kids were little, or he didn’t have kids, he would come in and spend hours. It was unbelievable,” Shulock said. “You could tell that he just wanted to. He just wanted to do things for the families and for the patients.”

Now, Shulock said, the portrait of Troy that hangs in the hallway is a reminder and an inspiration.

“I look at it and think, ‘Man, you know, when is the next Troy going to be a part of the Steelers?’ That is a phenomenal player but also phenomenal human, that can come here and do the things that he did,” Shulock said.

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