TAMPA, Fla.— — Before the Super Bowl kicks off, a Tampa nurse will be recognized on the field at Raymond James and take part in the official coin toss ceremony.
“It’s been really mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting for all of us,” said Suzie Dorner.
Like many healthcare workers, Dorner has been navigating the COVID-19 crisis for months. Dorner is the COVID ICU Nurse Manager at Tampa General Hospital.
On a recent video call, Dorner found out she was getting the opportunity of a lifetime.
“You along with two other people will be honorary captains of Super Bowl LV here on February 7,” said Derrick Brooks, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and chair of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV host committee.
The NFL selected Dorner and two other community heroes to serve as honorary captains. The three honorary captains will be part of the Super Bowl’s official on-field coin toss ceremony.
“Oh my gosh. Thank you so much. I’m so humbled and honored. I’m speechless,” Dorner told Brooks on the call.
Dorner explains the experience she's been selected for wasn’t what she imagined she was going to hear on that call. She explains she initially thought she was going to be presented a few tickets for her team members.
“To be honored at the Super Bowl makes everything that we’ve all been through this year, it makes it a little bit more tolerable and something to celebrate everything that we’ve been through, the good and the bad things,” said Dorner.
The two other honorary captains are veteran James Martin of Pittsburgh and educator Trimaine Davis of Los Angeles. The NFL says the three were chosen because of their dedication and selfless commitment to helping others.
The NFL also stated, “these heroes are symbolic of the thousands of healthcare professionals, educators, and veterans throughout our country who continue to care for, heal, and support those in need during this pandemic.”
Before they’re recognized on-field, Presidential Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman will recite an original poem about the honorary captains in recognition of their impact this year.
“I still can’t believe it. I wake up every day, and I’m like, ‘Is this real life?” said Dorner. “ I don’t feel like I should be the representative, but I’m just honored and humbled.”