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Rob & Robbie: Gronk meets young fan he inspired to keep fighting
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When Robbie Barnicoat, a 12-year-old from Florida, woke from a medically induced coma in 2015, the first thing he saw was his Rob Gronkowski jersey. His parents had hung it in the hospital room to make it feel more like home as he got treatment for severe epilepsy syndrome, and from then on the jersey of Robbie's favorite player became a crucial part in his healing and recovery.
In a touching story on ESPN, Robbie took inspiration from Gronk after spending two months in the hospital. When Robbie woke from his coma, his parents and doctors weren't sure if he would be able to see, talk or read, but he opened his eyes, looked at Gronk's jersey and said, "eight." Just like that, they knew he was able to do all three.
"From then on, we used Gronkowski's jersey as an eye chart on a daily basis," Dr. Sima A. Parikah, Robbie's doctor said. "That 87 jersey was crucial to his rehab and his development."
Gronk caught wind of Robbie's story, and before a brain surgery last summer, he sent a video encouraging him to stay strong.
"It was truly a touching story that inspired me, and no one even believed where he could be right now," Gronk told ESPN. "Just saying how helpful my jersey was just hanging in there got him through it, it's just unbelievable."
After this season's game against the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium, Robbie and Rob got to meet. It is a touching moment filled with hugs, a piggy back ride and Gronk spikes, but more importantly, it is about the bond between two Robs. You don't want to miss it.
You can watch the piece below.