Profile: NFL Star Adrian Peterson
AL: Have you had any close calls or reactions since then?
AP: No I haven’t, thank God, I haven’t.
AL: How much time do you usually spend traveling in a normal year?
AP: Probably about nine weeks we’re traveling, so I’m traveling a lot actually.
AL: When on the road, how do you ensure your food is shellfish-free? Do you talk to chefs personally?
AP: We get a per diem, believe it or not [laughs], they give us money so we provide our own food, which is great. When I’m at restaurants I make sure that I’m staying away from my allergic triggers, I’m always keeping my eyes open, making sure I’m avoiding those triggers.
AL: Do you feel uneasy now if you’re near shellfish?
AP: You know, it brings back memories, but I know my allergic triggers, so I’m able to avoid them. And I have my EpiPen with me. That’s why it’s so important for us to bring awareness so people can know, so people can be better prepared.
AL: A lot of kids look up to you as a role model. What advice would you give to kids growing up with severe food allergies?
AP: One of the other misperceptions is that you don’t have to carry your EpiPen with you. I would advise young kids to have an action plan and take it seriously. Always carry the auto-injector with you, wherever you go, make sure you are avoiding your allergic triggers, and know your action plan in case an allergic reaction happens.
AL: What made you decide to get involved with the ‘Show Us Your EpiPens’ campaign?
AP: Just my experience – it hit home with me. It was one of those situations where your life kind of flashes in front of you. God forbid that they didn’t have the EpiPen, it was very scary.
That was the main factor, to use my platform to bring awareness to anaphylaxis because it’s life-threatening, and if it takes me to open the ears of an elder or a young kid who’s a fan, so they can be best prepared and have an action plan in case anaphylaxis occurs in their life, then I’m here to voice it.
AL: What felt better: being chosen as the 2012 MVP, or having your allergic reaction stopped by the auto-injector?
AP: [laughs] Having my allergic reaction stopped! You know what the crazy thing is, after I got off the phone with my athletic trainer, it seemed like everything kept getting even worse. When I hung up the phone I couldn’t breathe out of my nose, period. Then my throat started to really close up on me, so I’m sitting there, I’m searching, scratching for air, just barely getting air.
I got to the point where I was actually leaving, to try and meet him wherever he was coming from – I just wanted to get help – and as soon as I opened the door he ran out the elevator, he had the EpiPen, and I administered it.
Do they always keep auto-injectors at the training camp?
AP: Yeah. When you’ve got 70-something guys in a training camp, you never know what can happen. That’s one thing that I feel blessed about too, that my trainer was able to recognize my symptoms by me telling him, and he was prepared. He came up, he had the EpiPen and he knew exactly what was needed.
AL: Where are your auto-injectors kept during games?
AP: Right on the sidelines.
AL: What have your teammates said to you about the allergy?
AP: Initially when it first happened, of course they were concerned. They wanted to know exactly what took place, and I was able to fill them in that I had an allergic reaction to the shrimp and the scallops that was in the seafood gumbo, and I had just found out I’m allergic to those.
I told them my action plan, this is what I have to do, knowing my triggers and avoiding them, keeping my EpiPen with me. So it’s a slight change, but it’s for the better.
AL: Good luck on Sunday versus the Packers and thank you.
AP: Thank you so much, I appreciate you taking the time as well.