Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee visited Texoma Medical Center Thursday afternoon to meet with patients and fans. The appearance was the first time a professional athlete had come to visit patients at the hospital, officials said.


The appearance came ahead of the All-Texomaland Banquet presented by the Herald Democrat and Texoma Medical Center and sponsored by Bonham Chrysler where Lee served as the speaker and delivered a question and answer session with local athletes.


For his part, Lee said he is always excited to get the opportunity to meet with fans and appreciated their support. However, he said the chance to meet with patients who are fighting their own battles was even more special and inspiring.


“Any time we come and visit patients, we draw inspiration from it and how hard they are fighting,” he said. “I am always humbled by the support they give me. I’d say it drives me to be a better player and bring home a championship.”


When asked about the upcoming season, Lee said the Dallas Cowboys had a great season in 2016, when they had 13 wins and only three losses. He said he expected 2017 to follow the same trend.


“We had a good year last year and we will have another good year this year — all we need is three more wins,” he said.


Among the patients that Lee visited during his trip to TMC was Nathalia Lupercio, who had just given birth to a new baby boy less than three hours prior. Lupercio said she was still deciding on a name for her young son, but was considering Sean after the first person to visit her after giving birth.


“I can’t believe that the first visitor is (from) the Dallas Cowboys,” she said.


About 30 minutes after giving birth, representatives with the hospital told Lupercio that Lee would be making a visit and asked if she would like to meet him. As a Dallas Cowboys fan, she said she was delighted to meet him.


New father Kahlee Woods said he was also excited to meet Lee as they played the same position and shared that connection. Woods said he had flown in to Texoma to be there in time for the unexpected birth; the child was originally due on July 22.


“He knew Sean Lee was coming and decided today was the day,” Lupercio said, jokingly.


TMC CEO Ron Seal said that Lee’s visit represented the first celebrity or athlete to go to the hospital in as long as he can remember. While athletes and other celebrities have attended fundraisers for Reba’s Ranch House and other events, this is the first time that one has visited the hospital proper, he said.


“We are very honored to have him here,” he said. “He represents the team well and he is a world-class individual both on and off the field.”