Darling Dash Run
Darling Dash Run

The As One Foundation founded by former Houston Texans player Devard Darling is bringing back its 13th annual Sickle Cell 10K, 5K and 1K race on Feb. 26 at Stude Park in the Heights at 8 AM.

The Darling Dash is an annual event held in honor of Darling’s identical twin brother, Devaughn, who died from complications of sickle cell trait in 2001.

The mission is to bring awareness to athlete deaths that plague the sickle cell community. Sickle Cell Trait is considered to be the leading non-injury killer of college athletes and affects 2.5 to 4 million people in the U.S.

“There is this culture among young, competitive collegiate sports programs that their success is tied to how hard they have to work their players,” said Dr. Tomia Austin, executive director of the As One Foundation. “These young athletes have to chose between going hard in the game versus listening to their bodies.”

As One Foundation team

Some athletes with the trait have been shown to experience heat stroke and muscle breakdown when doing intense exercises. Studies have shown that problems can be reduced by avoiding dehydration.

According the National Athletic Trainers Association Consensus Statement on Sickle Cell Trait and the Athlete, knowledge of trait status can be a gateway to education and simple precautions that may prevent sickling collapse and enable athletes with the trait to thrive in the sport.

“Anybody with sickle cell or not who want to be involved with rigorous sports need three simple protective factors, ‘Warm up, drink up, rest up,’” said Austin. Take breaks and subscribe to a customized hydration by consuming half your body weight of water per day. These exertional deaths are preventable.”

The proceeds from the race help to provide training material and testing kits for their “Operation Hydration” training program and supplies for outreach efforts for more than 700 coaches and educators. The funds will also support monthly blood drives in partnership with the Red Cross and the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Bank or sickle cell patients who need lifesaving blood transfusions once or twice a month.

For more information on the race visit asonefoundation.org.

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Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...