Local nurse invited by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to Super Bowl recounts her experience

Nurse invited to game after penning letter to NFL commissioner

Health care hero selected to attend Super Bowl for work during pandemic

DETROIT – For Carol St. Henry, the weekend has been filled with pinch yourself moments of not only being invited by National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell to the Super Bowl, but scoring seats so close to the action she became a part of it. 

“I was in the second row. I was literally in the second row. I should have asked the people around me what they paid for a ticket. I was literally in the second row,” she said.

A nurse anesthetist and critical care nurse, she wrote a letter to Goodell telling him about her work on the frontlines at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac. To her surprise he invited the health care hero to the big game.

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“I think that I figured it would be emotional and I think the most emotional part was being the workers there that are, you know, directing us taking our tickets that kind of thing stopping and clapping for us as we walk in. I think that, that was definitely emotional because you know we’re just doing our job. The NFL thanked us for doing our job, it’s what we do...So we’re being thanked for doing what we love. And I think that was the really, really special part,” said St. Henry.

A lifelong Lions fan, she dressed in her jersey to the game and it paid off when Calvin Johnson was introduced as a Hall of Famer.

“He was in my end zone and he turned around and I went like this is my Lions thing and he pointed right to me. That was super special, and you know the flyover to hear that. To hear the flyover and you look and it goes right over your head. Amazing totally amazing,” she said.

And she explains what we couldn’t see including why the stands looked so full. 

“From what you guys could see, it looks like the stands were full, but I had cardboard cutouts on one side of me to on the other. No one was behind me, no one in front of me. Everyone had to have a mask on. They had workers just there to make sure you had your mask on. You could take a drink, put your mask back on. So they were very, very strict,” she said.  

From the flyover with that Stealth Bomber being piloted by a woman to the first woman referee at a Super Bowl game in that moment, it didn’t feel historic, it just felt great in that warm Tampa air, and a moment to just feel normal again even during the halftime show. 

“So you looked around, you saw people with masks and it was no big deal. And they wore them. You didn’t have to tell anyone to put it on,” she said.

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About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.