By Sean Marshall
Football season is in full swing but like all aspects of life sickle cell has affected it. Now in the last days of sickle cell awareness month the mainstream sports media has finally become aware
One story that has pooped up in the media involves was the condition of Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma University's football team. According to The Norman Transcript, a news organization that handles news coverage for Oklahoma's university and the Norman region, Baker Mayfield cannot play this season.
This does not at first appear to be big news a player not being able to play football, happens all the time, what is unique to the situation. The situation is unique because according to The Norman Transcript is that Mayfield has sickle cell anemia.
However Mayfield has played before has "started seven games for Texas Tech last season as a walk-on, transferred to OU in January without being granted a release by the Red Raiders." Which begs the question if he was good enough as a stand in when there was no other choice why is his illness an issue now.
It was even explained that "Mayfield has argued through his attorney, Jim Darnell, that since he was a walk-on, typical transfer rules should not apply." But unfortunately The NCAA specified it the 2014-15 transfer manual that it makes no distinction between scholarship recipients and walk-ons in such a case.
The article did outline other individuals who suffer from sickle cell disease and play college football. These examples were West Virginia: Defensive end Charles Tapper was helped off the field late in the West Virginia. OU coach Bob Stoops said Tapper did not suffer an injury.
His coach did explain that "Charles has a sickle-cell trait and at certain levels of exhaustion, that's dangerous. He's taught through our medical team that if he gets in that situation, no pun intended, he has to tap out." As of this point it is still uncertain if Mayfield will play.
This is very interesting because another article with similar situation was written this week as well. In direct relation to the last news story another article this week also focused on Charles Tapper. The piece of football came from newsok.com. The article highlighted many of what Mayfield is going through however Charles Tapper of the Oklahoma juniors has been able to play football despite his sickle cell anemia.
The article went into depth about how Tapper left the Sooners’ 45-33 win at West Virginia last weekend in the fourth quarter because of exhaustion brought on by his sickle cell trait.
The reason why there is so much commotion is because California defensive end Ted Agu died in February during a training run, and it was reportedly because of complications from sickle cell trait. This has a lot of officials second guessing players with sickle cell disease.
The good news is that Tapper has had a solid season and will continue to play his stats this season include "a recorded nine tackles and one sack so far through four 2014 games."
This does beg the question why Tapper gets to play despite having to "ask out of the game, as the exhaustion reached levels where he had to be careful." Yet players like Mayfield don’t even get the option.
If you would like to read more about the two stories and compare them find it here Mayfield’s here: http://www.normantranscript.com/sports/article_a45ba542-42cc-11e4-8035-df2cf2490456.html
And Tapper's here: http://newsok.com/bob-stoops-de-charles-tapper-has-sickle-cell-trait-which-caused-exhaustion/article/5344459
Either way it’s a good thing sickle cell is getting as much attention despite the circumstances.
Other football articles talking sickle cell this week includes an article from a Redskins blog explaining how Washington Redskins' safety Ryan Clark was wearing red cleats with white lettering pointing out the staggering sickle cell statistics in order to raise awareness about the disease.
The blog explained that "these cleats will have sickle cell facts, the sickle cell symbol and Cure League." This is Ryan Clark's foundation dedicated to raising money for sickle cell disease reach, clinical care and increased awareness
The article also mentioned that in 2007 "Clark experienced severe discomfort, later finding out that he has sickle cell trait."
This past Friday after the game the cleats were auctioned off on CureLeague.org, with all proceeds going to sickle cell research. The 14-year veteran also made a $25,000 donation.
If you would like to learn more go to the link: http://blog.redskins.com/2014/09/24/ryan-clark-to-wear-red-cleats-to-promote-sickle-cell-awareness/
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