How Northwestern is going out of its way to help allergic fans

The Northwestern Wildcats will hold three 'peanut-free' football games in 2014 to help fans with severe peanut allergies and raise awareness for the potentially fatal medical condition.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately three million people are allergic to peanuts.

So to help fans who battle severe peanut allergies and raise awareness for the medical condition, Northwestern has come up with a unique solution.

The Wildcats will host three "peanut-free" games in 2014, according to a ESPN report. Those games will be Cal (Aug. 30), Northern Illinois (Sept. 6) and Western Illinois (Sept. 20).

How did this idea come about? From the report:

The idea to hold a "peanut-free" game started last year with a simple request by a concerned parent. A father of a Northwestern freshman with a severe peanut allergy asked school officials if they could have a game without serving peanuts, deputy athletic director Mike Polisky said.
"His son was resigned to the fact he wouldn't get to see a Northwestern game in person because he has these allergy problems and life threatening concerns," Polisky said. "The father asked if there is any way you guys could do something so he could come to at least one game?"

Northwestern held the first peanut-free game in October 2013 and was overwhelmed by the response.

"We just wanted to do the right thing," Polisky told ESPN. "This has nothing to do with PR. It's not a business decision. ... It started out with one father looking out for his son."

In addition to the three non-conference football games, Northwestern will also go peanut-free for 10 men's and six women's basketball games, all 18 home volleyball games and three wrestling matches.

Before each game, the venue will undergo a deep cleansing to ensure no peanut particles exist anywhere fans may be.

"We're glad we're making an impact in their lives," Polisky told ESPN. "We've had great support from the entire university when we first looked into doing this last year. We thought why wouldn't we do this?"

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