Last week, we teamed up with members of the Los Angeles Chargers to visit veterans and staff at the Veteran Affairs Hospital’s Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Center in Long Beach, Calif. Players Austin Ekeler, Isaac Rochell, and Justin Jones answered questions about their lives and careers for eager patients and VA staff.
One veteran stole the show when he blurted out “my daughter said to get number 30’s number.” Ekeler found the comment amusing but decided to keep his number a mystery. The running back also drew laughs when he shared about the time in peewee football he accidentally scored for the opposing team, saying he was ecstatic before realizing his mistake.
The towering Isaac Rochell spoke about his early days in football and how at first he felt tossed around by bigger and stronger opponents, leading him to have mixed feelings about the sport. Thankfully the defensive end stuck it out long enough to see a major growth spurt – he is now 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 270 pounds.
Justin Jones and his brother were raised by a strong, hard-working single mother. For him, football created an extended family that taught him important life lessons. He offered: “Anything worth having is always hard to attain… when it comes to football, relationships, kids – it’s all hard, but it’s something you can have forever.” The Chargers and their fans are now a part of that supportive community.
Residents and staff spoke with the players about their thoughts on Tom Brady’s free agency, new safety regulations in the NFL, and hopes of winning it all in the Super Bowl. Ekeler, Jones, and Rochell also made room visits and handed out t-shirts, beanies, and signed miniature footballs to patients, nurses, and orderlies.
Two members of the Charger Girls – Kylie and Lauren – were also in attendance to meet with the patients and hand out photo rosters featuring the whole squad. Many of the veterans were equally excited to chat with the women as they walked around with the players. There were several requests for photos featuring their gold pompoms.
We had a meaningful day at the VA hospital. Working with veterans is a cause near and dear to ROKiT Phones and our co-founder, naval veteran John Paul DeJoria. We are proud to have teamed up with the Chargers for this special event to support veterans in our community.
Click here for more photos from the visit.