Kid Captain Kendra Hines ‘on cloud nine’ to storm Kinnick with the Hawks

When Kid Captain Kendra Hines was first born, her airway was obstructed and caused her to stop breathing. Now, she is able to manage her symptoms through care from the Stead Family Children’s Hospital.


Ryan Adams

Kid Captain Kendra Hines signs a card for Hawkeye Football Offensive Coordinator Brian Ferentz in the Hawkeye football locker room at Kids Day at Kinnick on Saturday, August 10, 2019. Kids Day at Kinnick is an annual event for families to experience Iowa’s football stadium, while watching preseason practice and honoring this year’s Kid Captains.

Charles Peckman, Senior Reporter

During week 18 of Teresa Hines’ pregnancy, blood tests revealed her baby had Down syndrome. Although Kendra, now 10, was born seven weeks early in a Cedar Rapids hospital, Teresa said she was unfazed by the blood tests, saying she knew her daughter would be perfect no matter what.

Once Teresa and her husband Mickey brought Kendra home, any parent’s worst nightmare became a reality when their daughter stopped breathing in the middle of the night. This, Teresa said, was the most frightening moment of her life.

Kendra was rushed to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital where doctors performed a number of tests and diagnosed her with subglottic stenosis, a potentially life-threatening narrowing of the airway. Doctors also diagnosed her with stridor, a high-pitched sound caused by an obstructed airway.

Pediatric otolaryngologists at the hospital performed a surgery to widen Kendra’s airway, which helped her breathe normally again. After this diagnosis, however, came another revelation — Kendra suffers from tracheomalacia, a rare condition that results in soft, floppy trachea cartilage.

Utilizing a CPAP machine has since allowed Kendra to manage her symptoms. Throughout her treatment, Teresa said the hospital has gone above and beyond to provide excellent care. She added that her opinion of the hospital has only grown since Kendra was selected to be the Kid Captain for Saturday’s game against Purdue.

“I think it’s amazing what they do for those kids,” she said. “I’ve heard it has grown a lot since the Kid Captain program first started, but they truly do so much for [the kids.]”

Teresa said that Kids Day, which was held Aug. 10 at Kinnick Stadium, was a day she will always remember. She added that the joy on Kendra’s face while touring the locker room, storming the field, and receiving jerseys and footballs from the players was indescribable.

Although Mickey said the Hines’ four other children are Kendra’s biggest supporters, he added that traditions like Kids Day and “the wave” truly help the patients and their families feel like part of the Hawkeye family.

“This program is so uplifting for the children and their families,” he said. “There are so many serious cases at the hospital on any day, and I feel like when everyone is waving up there, in that moment, everyone is feeling the same thing.”

Looking forward, Mickey said he hopes that traditions like the wave continue to gain momentum.

“Whenever I see [the Kid Captains or the wave] on TV, it gives me such a special feeling,” Mickey said. “When you think about all of the doctors, patients, and families up there and all of the work that’s being done, you can’t help but feel moved.”

When asked about her favorite part of being a Kid Captain, Kendra said she loves running on Kinnick Stadium’s field. Even though Kendra said she is “very excited” to join the Hawkeyes on Saturday, she added that she is feeling nervous as well, especially given the large audience at home games.

“Oh, don’t worry honey,” Teresa said. “You’ll be great.”