Buffs Handle ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge;’ Obama Next?

BOULDER – University of Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre, his six captains and CU’s 18-man 2014 senior class accepted the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” after practice on Friday morning. The team then went ahead and challenged President Barack Obama to do the same.

The challenge stems from social media and the pursuit to raise money and awareness regarding ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) research.

“Our guys know about it,” MacIntyre said. “It is a terrible, terrible disease and we need to try and find a cure for it.”

With MacIntyre leading the way, each individual took a 10-gallon bucket filled with cold water which they subsequently lifted above their heads and poured over their bodies. The head-to-toe dousing was followed by loud screams and players running in all directions.

The challenge has gone viral in all communities, and the football world is no exception. College and NFL teams across the nation are doing their parts to raise awareness about ALS. MacIntyre noted that it “really hits home” with his players due to the fact that there are multiple former NFL players suffering from the disease.

MacIntyre was originally challenged by Duke assistant director of athletics/external affairs Art Chase, and the team was also challenged by McGuckin Hardware. Once the challenge is completed it must be passed on to someone else. MacIntyre then allowed his team to decide who was next.

There was some deliberation between local celebrities such as John Elway, but with the conclusion that Elway had already completed the challenge, the team decided to target the biggest name they could imagine. Thus, President Obama is now on the clock.

If someone does not accept the challenge, they are then expected to donate toward ALS research. Currently, there has been over $4 million raised in support of the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” with the ultimate goal to find a cure for ALS.

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Over time, the disease eventually kills the motor neurons in those areas and at that point the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With the loss of voluntary muscle movement, patients in the latter stages of the disease may become completely paralyzed. The life expectancy of ALS patients averages about two to five years, but more than half of all patients live at least three years after diagnosis.

Few were aware of the disease prior to the late 1930s when legendary New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig was tragically stricken with the illness in 1939 and then died two years later. Henceforth, it has also commonly been referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

Approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with the disease annually. It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two out of every 100,000 deaths annually.

For more information on ALS and how to help the battle against this disease and donate to the cause visit the ALS Association's website at www.alsa.org.

MacIntyre described Friday’s morning session as very spirited and even declared it the “best two-a-day morning practice we’ve had.” Some morning practices have players thinking about the next practice and therefore maybe trying to conserve energy. But MacIntyre saw no such thing with his players Friday . . . . With “Identity Week” coming to a close, MacIntyre said the team must determine its identity. One of the biggest things he is looking for is physical toughness. He called camp the “defining moment” when it comes to developing mental and physical toughness, because once the season and classes begin practices will drastically change in terms of physical exertion . . . . Travis Talianko has switched positions from defensive back to linebacker after gaining nearly 20 pounds since being recruited . . . . De’Jon Wilson has been practicing at both defensive tackle as well as defensive end. MacIntyre said that is part of a philosophy that interior players need to be well aware of each position in case injuries arise and one player is needed to fill another role . . . . The team will conduct a practice Friday night at 7 under the lights of Folsom Field to simulate game time conditions when the Buffs take on Colorado State in Denver on Aug. 29 at the same time. 

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