bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: College athlete gives up final meet to donate bone marrow

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For many athletes, sports are more important than anything else. Those at the top of their sports must have an even greater focus on that area of their lives than the rest, I would imagine, considering the level of accomplishment. College athletes have certainly reached a level of athletic achievement of which most people can not boast, and it must be quite difficult to eliminate distractions and physical ailments that could interfere with those pursuits. You would not expect one of these people to voluntarily choose something that would end his college career, but that’s exactly what Cameron Lyle did.

Lyle throws the shot put for the University of New Hampshire’s track and field team. He is a senior, and was about to compete in the final meet of his college career. While preparing for that, he received a phone call from the National Marrow Donor Program (http://marrow.org/Home.aspx), an organization that has a database of potential donors of bone marrow, built from people who registered and had their mouths swabbed to be part of the program. He had signed up a couple of years earlier at the school along with a bunch of his buddies. I read that the chances of matching a non-family member is somewhere around one in five million, so it was quite remarkable that he got that call. It sounds like it was a very easy decision for this young man, who chose to go through with the donation and skip his final collegiate competition.

The sacrifice on the part of Cameron Lyle goes beyond sports. From what I understand, the donation process is quite involved and can be painful. It’s not as simple as giving blood, as it involves a needle that has to retrieve bone marrow, which means that it enters the bone itself (done in the pelvic area). There are physical limitations after the procedure, beyond whatever pain might be involved. Despite that, there is a person on the other end who would likely not survive without the marrow transplant, so it was an easy decision for Lyle.

I signed up for this registry several years back and have never been called, so I can’t be sure what I would do, but I’d like to think that I would be just as brave as this kid. I found out about this story because the husband of a friend of mine is currently going through this same process. He is a marathon runner who actually just signed up very recently and was quickly found to be a match for someone in Germany. He is currently undergoing the pre-donation testing, which seems to be a major process on its own. In the end, the ability to save someone’s life clearly trumps any discomfort or temporary absence from athletic activity. These guys are doing something amazing, and I really admire them for it.

Good sports, continued:

2) Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez struck out 17 Braves during his team’s 10-0 win on Friday, setting a team record.

3) Lionel Messi scored a goal Barcelona’s match against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. It was the 20th straight league game in which he scored a goal, which is a record.

4) Watch this incredible save by goaltender Drew MacIntyre, who plays for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. Spectacular.

Bad sports:

1) An official in the Indonesian Premier League was punched in the face by a player during a disagreement about a call. Brutal.

2) Matt Kenseth was docked 50 points by NASCAR for an engine part that failed inspection after his win at Kansas Speedway last weekend. The part came in less than three grams underweight, and the engines were built by Toyota Racing Development, not by Kenseth’s Joe Gibbs-owned team, but NASCAR really pounded them. Beyond the points penalty, Kenseth’s crew chief was suspended for six races and fined $200,000, and team owner Gibbs had his owner’s license suspended for six races.

3) Karl Berry, the captain of an Australian hockey team, found a snake on the team’s field and carrier it to some nearby bushes. Not knowing he had been bitten, he went for a run. He collapsed and died during that run, as the snake was of a particularly poisonous variety.

4) Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew was about to play a match against D.C. United when the stadium scoreboard caught on fire. You don’t see that every day.

5) The second stage of cycling’s Tour of Turkey included a giant pileup that involved a large number of riders. Check out the video.

6) Oklahoma City Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook will likely miss the rest of the NBA playoffs after having surgery to repair torn knee cartilage this week. The injury occurred during Wednesday night’s game two against the Houston Rockets.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

 

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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