The Hawkeyes are getting ready to kick off football season, but they can't begin without their Kid Captains!

Every year since 2009, the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital and the Iowa Hawkeyes have teamed up to "honor pediatric patients and celebrate their inspirational stories" with the Kid Captain program. How exactly do you become a Kid Captain? According to the hospital's website, "the Kid Captain program is open to any current or former UI Stead Family Children's Hospital patient 18 years of age or younger." The kids can only be nominated by their parent or guardian. This year, there were 232 nominations from five different states, but only 13 could be chosen for the honor.

Not only do the Kid Captains each get a commemorative jersey and special recognition, but they also get to do a special behind-the-scenes tour of Kinnick Stadium this Saturday! Here are this year's honorees:

Click HERE to get a full bio on each child.

Congrats to all of this year's Kid Captains! We hope to meet some of you at the Children's Miracle Network Radiothon next week!

[Via UI Childrens/KCRG]