April 20, 2014 Louisville, KY
Ryan Clark is a very intelligent man. For 8 seasons he roamed as a feared free safety of the Pittsburgh Steelers. On March 31, 2014 Clark signed a one year contract to play safety for the Washington Redskins. When I first heard about him it was about how hard he hits and how good of a player he now is. When he played a game in Denver Colorado I found out that he has the sickle-cell trait. Sickle cell is the name of a disease that mainly affects African-Americans. It is a blood disease in which the bloods cells that are usually circle shaped become sickle-shaped. With the cells becoming sickle-shaped, it makes it very hard for them to go through the blood stream. This causes a lot of extreme pain during a sickle-cell crisis. The blood is also starved of oxygen because of this process. A crisis is an extremely painful and serious health problem for the person. Ryan was having problems because of high altitude and thin air. I had heard of people having health problems who only had the sickle-cell trait but not to this extent. He had to have his spleen removed and was in the hospital for several days. Watching a well-known accomplished pro athlete go through this was surprising. I also saw some of his character. He handled the experience in a very respectable way. Ryan Clark is a special football player and a good man with high integrity. He showed a lot when the Steelers returned to Denver, by wanted to play even though his health would be at risk. Coach Mike Tomlin made the decision not to play him in the game because of the health risk Clark was facing. The Sickle Cell trait and full-blown Sickle Cell Anemia is not well-known and is inherited at birth when one of more of the parents carry the trait. People should get tested to find out if they are a carrier if they have plans of starting a family. Sickle Cell trait and disease is in need of funds for more research. Most people don’t know about it unless it affects one of their loved ones.
I dedicate this to my mother, Diane McClain – Thank you for all you do.
Love is Love Always – Andrew!