Los Angeles Lakers Visit Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

Official Lakers Release

Lakers coach Luke Walton walked through the hallways of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center wearing an honorary physician's white coat when he bumped into members of the interventional cardiology team.

"Sure, let's take a photo. You're the ones who are saving lives every day,"Walton said as he exchanged introductions with the team.

There were plenty of heartfelt moments to go around when the Lakers visited UCLA Health's nationally recognized medical center on Jan. 30 to showcase their new long-term partnership. Players, coaches, executives and Laker Girls participated in a ceremonial physician coat/jersey exchange with UCLA Health doctors and leadership before meeting with patients and staff throughout the hospital.

"I'm going to try to go to a Lakers game,"said 12-year-old patient Natalie Pembleton, who suffers from seizures, after Walton and some players visited her room. Before leaving, Walton and Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson broke a hands-in huddle with Pembleton to the rallying call, "I love basketball!"

After touring the hospital's helipad, some players headed to the Chase Child Life outdoor terrace to shoot hoops with pediatric patients while others toured CASIT, the Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology. There, players got a hands-on demonstration of how surgeons learn to perform robotic procedures and remote surgery.

"The more you train, the more successful you can be," Lakers guard Marcelo Huertas said after using the machines that allow UCLA Health physicians to practice their surgical skills. "It's the samething we do. Before actually playing any games, we have to practice a lot. Practice is also something that's really important for doctors. For a real surgery, you can't mess up, and that's basically what we try to do in our court as well."

Players also got a chance to tour the Cardiac Catheterization Lab and UCLA's state-of-the-art operating rooms. After that, team members visited with patients and their families, hospital staff and volunteers.

"It was our pleasure to visit Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center," Walton said. "It is a facility that is so important to our community right now. We had the privilege of visiting young kids, raising their spirits and brightening their day. We look forward to the ongoing partnership with UCLA Health and are excited to foster growth in our shared community.

"The Lakers and UCLA Health have a special partnership that includes UCLA's designation as the official in-game health providers for the team's players as well as naming rights for the Lakers' new 120,000-square foot UCLA Health Training Center, set to open this summer in El Segundo. The Lakers and UCLA Health will be engaged in community, educational and research efforts in injury prevention and sports performance. The partnership was announced in August 2016.

"We were delighted to host the Los Angeles Lakers organization and highlight the care we provide at UCLA Health," said Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health, CEO of UCLA Hospital System, and Associate Vice Chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences. "The players' visit really lifted the spirits of our patients and their family members and provided a memorable experience for so many of our staff and volunteers."

Watch the Laker Team Appearance at UCLA Health on Backstage Lakers HERE!

For more information about UCLA Health, visit uclahealth.org

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