urn. Army vs. Navy. USC vs. UCLA.
College football's popularity is often linked to its fierce and spirited rivalries. But on one day last month, collegiate coaches across America were on the same team. The reason? Coach to Cure M.D., a national charity project of the American Football Coaches Association or AFCA.
On that game day, Sept. 26, thousands of coaches nationwide, in all levels of collegiate football, including Castleton, came together to raise awareness and research funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the most prolific genetic killer diagnosed in childhood.
Back on Sept. 26, during a home game against Gallaudet, the Castleton coaching staff wore a Coach to Cure M.D. logo patch on the sidelines and college football fans were 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.
As part of the special event, Ryan Schultz was Castleton's guest and honorary captain for the game versus Gallaudet. The three-year-old Schultz, who was diagnosed with Duchenne two days after his birth, was accompanied by his parents Maria and David, and his seven-month old brother Mason. Maria and David started the foundation "Ryan's Quest" two months after Ryan was born.
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.
In the aftermath of this season's football wins, Spartan football fans are looking forward to helping their college team defeat M.D. next year.