From the Field to the Heart: See how this former Texans player brings awareness to Sickle Cell Trait

HOUSTON – Devard Darling is a former Texans Wide Receiver hosting the 13th annual “Darling Dash Sickle Cell Race.”

Devard attended Stephen F. Austin High School in Sugar Land Texas, where he played varsity football and ran track. In football, he won All-District honors and was named the 28th best prospect in the state of Texas by SuperPrep. He is currently splitting his time between Houston and Seattle.

After high school, he moved on to play college football at Florida State University and Washington State. In 2004, he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of the NFL Draft. He then went on to play for the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans later in his career. Since retiring from the NFL, he spends his time working with his Little League teams and bringing awareness to Sickle Cell Trait through his “As One Foundation.”

The Darling Dash is held in honor of Devard’s identical twin brother, Devaughn, who passed away in 2001 during football practice at Florida State, from complications of Sickle Cell Trait.

The annual race helps bring awareness to Sickle Cell Trait deaths plaguing athletes in the community. Sickle Cell Trait is classified as the leading non-injury killer of college athletes and affects 2.5-4 million people in the United States.

Darling says, “Playing in the NFL was a dream for me and my brother. I never thought that we wouldn’t be able to carry out our dream together.” He also adds, “I’ve made it my life’s mission to shine a light on Sickle Cell Trait-related deaths among high school and college athletes.”

Proceeds from the race help to provide training, materials, and other testing kits for the “Operation Hydration” training program. Supplies for outreach efforts go to over 700 coaches and teachers.

Funds from the race also support monthly blood drives in partnership with the Red Cross and the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Bank for Sickle Cell patients needing life-saving blood transfusions.

Watch the video above to learn more about the event.

The race will take place Sunday, February 26th at Stude Park in The Heights, kicking off at 8am. Click here to learn more information, or register for the race.

To connect with Devard, click here.

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