MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Prior to the 43-40 win over Baylor, the Mountaineer football team continued its tradition of waving to the patients at WVU Medicine Children’s.

But something was a bit different Thursday night: for the first time, the student-athletes waved to patients within the brand-new, state of the art children’s hospital, which opened at the end of September.

Thursday’s wave was broadcast live on Mountaineer GameDay, documenting the next chapter in the partnership between WVU football and WVU Medicine Children’s.

Former Mountaineer quarterback Jeff Hostetler, who played a role in fundraising and development for the new hospital, is now challenging all fans to get involved in this tradition before games. Fans who tailgate in the blue lot or greet the team during the pregame Mountaineer Mantrip are now encouraged to turn and wave to the children’s hospital patients, too, when the mantrip concludes.

Fourth-year head coach Neal Brown has continued to strengthen the partnership between the football program and children’s hospital. The connection dates back to the 1980s when Don Nehlen was head coach.

Over the last four decades, WVU football has raised more than $780,000 for WVU Medicine Children’s through its annual Gold-Blue Spring Game.

The new children’s hospital facility features a sports-themed floor, created with kids and their families in mind.

The “I Am A Mountaineer” floor is home to the Hostetler Family Resource Center. That space contains a seating area that resembles the football team’s locker room, as well as unique amenities for families, such as a kitchen area, a laundry room, a computer room, multiple video game consoles and TVs, and a retractable projector screen.

Hostetler shared the story about the inspiration for the space, as well as his call to all fans who tailgate before games, during a recent episode of The Neal Brown Show.

The Mountaineers play their next game on the road before returning home Oct. 29 to challenge TCU for the annual homecoming contest. A start time for that game has not yet been announced.