Adrian Peterson launches allergy education program
JUN 02, 2014 7:11p ET
NEW YORK -- His face swollen, breathing becoming difficult, Adrian Peterson didn't panic.
Maybe it was his resourcefulness as an elite athlete, or his ability to focus even in the most dire circumstances. But Peterson knew what to do two years ago when a severe allergy attack hit at Vikings training camp.
Now, he wants to make sure everyone else knows how to react.
Peterson has helped launch an educational program called Ready2Go for people with severe allergies.
"It breaks down to two things," the 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player said Monday. "First thing is being prepared and knowing your allergic triggers and symptoms. Then, having access to injections and using the epi pens."
That's how Peterson dealt with the reaction called anaphylaxis. He immediately called his athletic trainer, Eric Sugarman -- the man who oversaw Peterson's incredibly quick and productive return from torn knee ligaments -- and was fortunate that Sugarman was familiar with such symptoms and had the equipment to deal with them.
"Being an athlete played a role in dealing with it," said Peterson, whose allergic reaction was to shellfish in gumbo -- something he'd been eating his entire life. "You have to have an action plan."
Peterson has teamed with the pharmaceutical company Mylan Specialty on the project. As part of the campaign, three youngsters who have such health issues can win a trip to Minnesota's training camp this summer.
Termed the Ready2GoDraft, Mylan will conduct a nationwide search for kids aged 5 through 18 who have severe allergies. The youngsters will share their tips for being prepared in a 30-second video, each of which must mention how the child manages an anaphylaxis action plan.
The three winners will participate in a video/photo shoot with the star running back, and will get a trip to Minnesota's training camp.
Peterson, a paid spokesman for Mylan, chuckled when asked if he'd prefer the winners be Vikings or Oklahoma Sooners fans.
"They talked me out of it," he said with a laugh. "It's nationwide."
And it's important to Peterson, who related a story about when he was 7 years old and his brother was hit by a car. Peterson held his brother's head, surveyed the situation, then gently placed his sibling's head down and sprinted to his aunt's house to get someone to call 911.
He showed focus then in a stressful health situation, and he encourages others to do the same, to learn from him.
His Vikings teammates and others in the NFL already are doing so.
"When I had my episode, I was able to learn a lesson and be more knowledgeable, and so were they," he said. "I can give them information based on my experiences and how they can be prepared."