College Coaches Team Up Again In The Fight Against Duchenee Muscular Dystrophy

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WACO --Michigan vs. Ohio State. Alabama vs. Auburn. Army vs. Navy. Texas vs. Oklahoma. USC vs. UCLA. College football’s popularity is often linked to its fierce and spirited rivalries. But on one day this season, collegiate coaches across America will be on the same team. The reason? Coach to Cure MD, a national charity project of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) that culminates on September 26, 2009.

Texas A&M Head Football Coach Mike Sherman had three special guest at his weekly press conference on Monday, James and Veronica Evans, along with their son Max.

The Evans' 17 month old suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and appreciated Coach Sherman's involvement in fight against MD.

"We're really in a race against time and we really appreciate Coach Sherman's efforts to find a cure as soon as possible," said Veronica Evans.

On Saturday, thousands of coaches nationwide in all levels of collegiate football will come together to raise awareness and research funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the most prolific genetic killer diagnosed in childhood.

“College football coaches are dedicated to the betterment of young men and that’s why the entire coaching profession is proud to be a part of Coach to Cure MD,” said Grant Teaff, AFCA executive director and legendary former coach of Baylor University. “Our coaches are determined to beat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and we need college football fans to help.”

On September 26th, AFCA members will wear a “Coach to Cure MD” logo patch on the sidelines and college football fans will be asked to donate to research projects supported by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, the largest nonprofit organization in the U.S. focused entirely on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Football fans can donate to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research by either going online to www.CoachtoCureMD.org or by texting the word “CURE” to 90999 (a $5 donation will automatically be added to your next phone bill and standard text message rates apply).

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood and primarily affects boys across all races and cultures. Boys and young men with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy develop progressive muscle weakness that eventually causes loss of mobility, wheelchair dependency and a decline in respiratory and cardiac function. Currently, there is no cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and limited therapeutic options exist.

The financial service firm TIAA-CREF has signed on again this year as the national sponsor and will donate air-time on September 26th for a Coach to Cure MD commercial featuring football legends, Jim Tressel and Rich Rodriguez.

Last year, over 2,675 college coaches participated in the inaugural Coach to Cure MD event. Teaff said he expects an even wider cross-section of coaches to participate in the program’s second year. Families affected with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy will also gather for fund-raising tailgate parties on campuses around the country to encourage more fans to get involved.

“We are thrilled to be teammates again this year with the AFCA for Coach to Cure MD. The commitment of the coaches and universities that are participating is truly inspiring. We are taking a comprehensive approach in the fight against Duchenne—funding research, raising awareness, promoting advocacy, connecting the community, and broadening treatment options,” said Pat Furlong, founding president and CEO of PPMD. “And with the support of the AFCA and college football fans everywhere, we are confident that we will end Duchenne.”

About AFCA

The American Football Coaches Association was founded in 1922 and is considered the primary professional association for football coaches at all levels of competition. The 10,000-member organization includes more than 90 percent of head coaches at the 700-plus schools that sponsor football at the college level. Members include coaches from Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and Mexico.

About PPMD

Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by parents of children with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. The organization’s mission is to improve the treatment, quality of life and long-term outlook for all individuals affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy through research, advocacy, education and compassion. PPMD is headquartered in Middletown, Ohio with offices in Fort Lee, New Jersey. For more information, visit www.parentprojectmd.org.