Three times a year students are presented with the opportunity to donate blood to the American Red Cross, but while most students only have to worry about their iron being high enough in order to donate, athletes have more to worry about.
“I am not allowed to do any physical activity during practice if I donate blood,” said junior Danny Forman.
Danny is not the only athlete in this situation, but a lot of athletes are not allowed to donate blood at all because their coaches tell them specifically not to.
“My track coach tells us not to donate on practice days because she thinks missing practice will lower our performance,” said Forman.
Along with lowering performance, donating blood on a practice or game day could have dangerous repercussions.
“It is very important for athletes to not donate blood up to 48 hours before a practice or a game because your body is losing all that blood, and it takes a long time for that blood to be replaced,” said track and field coach Laura Christenson
Some athletes, however, feel that donating blood and saving lives is well worth missing a practice.
“I think athletes should donate blood because you’re saving lives. You’re only missing one practice, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it on a game day,” said junior Haley Beams.
According to the American Red Cross, after blood donation, donors should avoid heavy exercise or lifting because they could experience dizziness or lightheadedness.
“I have had students come to practice after donating blood, and I send them home. I tell them not to do any physical exercise for 48 hours, and depending on what even they’re in, if another person can fill their spot, I might push that person up because they were able to practice,” Christenson said.
According to the American Red Cross, one pint of blood could save up to three lives. They also have the option for donors to donate two pints, so one donor could save up to six lives.
“I think that for athletes, it’s definitely worth it to donate blood. You’re only missing one day of practice, which in the grand scheme of an entire sport, really isn’t that much. Sports are one thing and saving someone’s life is a completely different thing,” Forman said.