I am a big college sports fan, and I keep up with team news from all around the NCAA. This means I have read MORE than my fair share of stories about players breaking the rules and accepting perks or bribes. It’s always disheartening to hear about players and schools violating ordinances – so many people would trade anything to get a free education and play college-level athletics. And while I understand that collegiate athletics are big money-makers for universities, I think that the powers-that-be often create an atmosphere where the athletes believe that sports – and by extension, the athletes themselves – are the most important things in life. That’s why I was so pleasantly surprised to read about Cameron Lyle.
Cameron Lyle is a star shot putter at the University of New Hampshire. He’s right at the end of his senior season, when all the biggest tournaments and awards are earned – and he decided to end his collegiate sports career to save the life of a stranger. Two years ago Lyle participated in a bone marrow drive, and in February he found out he was the only match for a man with a rare form of Leukemia. The disease was aggressive, so a transplant needed to be performed immediately. The decision to go through with the transplant meant Lyle had to miss the last half of his final collegiate season. So many athletes would have said no. But Lyle said yes, and ended his sports career to save the life of a man he might never meet.
Becoming a donor (be it blood or something more serious like this) is an incredible thing. My mother has regularly donated blood and blood products (platelets, etc) since 1972, and I’ve always been so impressed and proud of her (I an unable to donate because of a blood clotting disorder, much to my regret). I wish more people would become donors.
I think stories like Cameron Lyle’s should be shouted from the rooftops. He’s the kind of athlete I want my kids to look up to – heck, I look up to him myself. Too often we know the names of the athletes that break the rules to improve their own lives. A man like Lyle should be celebrated for putting another person’s life ahead of his own.
Photo courtesy of ABCNews