Tom Gilmore Joins with AFCA To Fight Muscular Dystrophy

Oct. 24, 2008

College football coaches across the country this Saturday will join to fight one opponent - Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. By wearing an arm band with the Coach to Cure MD insignia, coaches will show their support for Coach to Cure MD, the American Football Coaches Association's (AFCA) newest charitable project. Both Holy Cross head coach Tom Gilmore and Lehigh head coach Andy Coen will wear arm bands at Saturday's game between the Crusaders and Mountain Hawks at Fitton Field.

"I think it's great that coaches around the country, through the American Football Coaches Association, can come together to help fight this disease," Gilmore said. "If by wearing the arm band on Saturday we can help to raise awareness and support for this issue, then we've taken a positive step forward."

Football fans will be able to donate to muscular dystrophy research either online at CoachToCureMD.org or by texting the word "CURE" to 90999 to automatically donate $5 from their mobile phones.

"College football is a team game and all of us in the coaching profession are asking football fans to help us defeat the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy," said Grant Teaff, a coaching legend at Baylor University, who is now the Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood. Because the Duchenne gene is found on the X-chromosome, it primarily affects boys and occurs across all races and cultures.

Boys and young men with Duchenne lack dystrophin, a protein critical to the structural stability of muscle fibers. Patients 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 and limited therapeutic options exist.

The AFCA is joining with the Parent Project for Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) to make Coach to Cure MD a reality and generate support for research using the nationwide, one-day, game-day event.

"College football coaches are dedicated to the betterment of young men and defeating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy fits with our mission," Teaff said. "By focusing the eyes of the entire football world on MD for one college game day, we can raise awareness and funds for life-saving research and support the core academic missions of universities and colleges."

"We take a comprehensive approach in the fight against Duchenne--funding research, raising awareness, promoting advocacy, connecting the community, and broadening treatment options," said Pat Furlong, founding president and CEO of PPMD. "This project is totally aligned with our goals and we are excited about the Coach to Cure and the opportunities it presents."

About AFCA The American Football Coaches Association was founded in 1922 and is considered the primary professional association for football coaches at all levels of competition. The 10,000-member organization includes more than 90 percent of head coaches at the 700-plus schools that sponsor football at the college level. Members include coaches from Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and Mexico.

About PPMD Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by parents of children with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. The organization's mission is to improve the treatment, quality of life and long-term outlook for all individuals affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy through research, advocacy, education and compassion. PPMD is headquartered in Middletown, Ohio with offices in Fort Lee, New Jersey. For more information, visit www.parentprojectmd.org.