When not helping Minnesota Vikings rookies adjust to the NFL, star running back Adrian Peterson is working with kids so they can deal with their serious food allergies.
Recently, Peterson partnered with the public health awareness campaign Ready2Go to get kids with life-threatening allergies to share their plans for dealing with anaphylaxis (a very serious allergic reaction). Kids submitted videos where they talked about their action plans, and AP helped choose — ahem, draft — three winners.
Peterson says he was thoroughly impressed by the creativity of the videos. “There was one young man who put together a pretty clever rap about having an allergic reaction,” he says. “It was also kind of funny, and ended with the young man rapping about how it was hard to talk if his tongue was ‘swole.’”
The kids Peterson chose— all with severe nut allergies — were flown to Minneapolis to create an educational video with the running back. It will be released in the fall.
This is an issue Peterson cares deeply about. All his life, he had enjoyed his favorite foods whenever he could. But one day during the 2012 training camp, he ordered a now infamous bowl of seafood gumbo for lunch. At age 27, he suffered his first severe anaphylaxis reaction. Upon a meeting with an allergist, he found that he had developed an allergy to shrimp, scallops, and lobster.
AP immediately learned what his triggers were and how to recognize signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction. And though he was shaken up by the event, he quickly overcame it: He rushed for 2,000 yards and was named NFL MVP at the end of the 2012 season.
Peterson has proven that an allergy — even a very serious one — doesn’t make someone. Now he wants to use his experience as an NFL star to help young people understand other misconceptions about life-threatening allergies.
“If I can change the minds or thought process of one or two kids, then it’s one or two lives that could be saved,” he says.
Photo: David Plakke for www.Ready2Go.com