The San Francisco 49ers proved once again they are a class act this week by quietly inviting the Hern family from Martinez to its Santa Clara practice facility this week.
Aaron Hern, 9, is the Bay Area child who was severely injured in the Boston bombing attack on April 15. Shrapnel from one of the bombs peppered his leg, requiring a lengthy hospital stay in Boston and several operations to repair the damage.
In the four months since the bombing, the Hern family has been the guest of the Oakland A's and the Golden State Warriors, but football is the real passion of the Hern family, so the visit to 49ers training camp was likely extra special.
Aaron plays quarterback. His dad Alan is the head football coach at Alhambra High School.
His mother Katherine told the 49ers that football has played a key role in Aaron's recovery process.
“Football has given him something to look forward to and stay motivated for,” Katherine told the team. “It’s helped give him a focus. He was torn down quite a bit and could have stayed down there for a while but experiences like this [49ers visit] have been an instrumental part of his recovery. I can’t even say that enough, how important this has been for him.”
49er Patrick Willis noted that the Hern family wasn't the only one to benefit from the visit.
“It means a lot to me for Aaron to be here,” Willis said. “It was tragic what happened in Boston and my heart goes out to all the victims and to anyone who was affiliated with it in general. It’s always a pleasure when you have fans like the little guy here.”