Why does the Florida Gators softball team wear sunflowers in their hair?

Ainslie Lee
The Gainesville Sun

The Florida Gators' softball team has a nontraditional fixture to its uniforms as players often don sunflowers in their hair. The meaning behind it is much greater than many realize.

From 2009-14, the Florida softball program had an honorary member in its clubhouse in Heather Braswell, who, after 5 1/2 years of being cancer free, was found to have another brain tumor. Braswell succumbed to her second bout with cancer in 2014 at the age of 17.

Now, the Gators continue to honor Braswell with sunflowers, which, with their yellow color, symbolize pediatric cancer awareness.

Each year Florida also hosts a "Yellow Game," which puts an emphasis on the initiative as the Gators go all out with yellow accents both in their uniforms and on the field.

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This year, Florida softball's booster club, the Gator Diamond Club, sold "Sunflower Saturday" T-shirts and raised more than $9,400 to be donated to St. Jude's Hospital in Braswell's memory.

The Gators also recently unveiled Heather's Sunflower Garden just beyond the left-centerfield wall at Florida's Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.