BACF football teams visit CCMC to learn about cystic fibrosis

Photo by Chad Adkins Angie Barry, a clinical nurse specialist at the Camden Clark Medical Center emergency room, explains the functions of medical equipment to the Ohio BACF football team on Thursday.

PARKERSBURG — For the last 26 years, the previous year’s graduated high school football players from the region have gathered to play in an all-star game to show off the skills they have learned over a lifetime.

But the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis game displays more than the player’s athletic prowess; it shows the community how much they care about fighting a disease that affects 30,000 Americans.

At 7 p.m. today at St. Marys High School, a team with a roster filled with West Virginia players will go head-to-head with a high school all-star team from Ohio for more than just bragging rights. The teams’ efforts will be rewarded with the satisfaction of raising money to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis.

Jodi Mote, coach at St. Marys High School and director of the all-star game for the last two years, arranged a tour of Camden Clark Medical Center so the athletes could better understand the cause for which they are playing.

“All-star games are meant to be fun, but this one is unique because it’s actually for a cause,” Mote said. “The (hospital tour) helps give the players an understanding of the disease and the battle people are dealing with.”

Photo by Chad Adkins Monica McDonald, lead respiratory therapist at Camden Clark Medical Center, helps Dalton Wheeler try a percussor on Thursday. A percussor shakes the chest to loosen mucus in a patient’s lungs.

After a tour of the emergency room that helps 50,000 people a year, the 23 athletes were given a seminar about cystic fibrosis and treatments available for people who suffer from the disease that fills the lungs and organs with mucus.

Susan Auednkampe, director of respiratory therapy at the hospital, said she hoped the seminar informed the players about other youth they may encounter who have the disease. Children with cystic fibrosis tend to be of smaller stature and thin as a result of their illness, she said.

“I hope they get an understanding of what a kid might be going through,” Auednkampe said.

Dalton Wheeler, who graduated from Caldwell High School in May, tried a common treatment for people with the disease.

The machine called a percussor has a base with hoses that attach to a wrap that goes around the patient’s chest. When turned on, it shakes rapidly to dislodge the mucus trapped in the person’s chest.

Photo by Chad Adkins The Ohio BACF football team begins its tour of the facilities at Camden Clark Medical Center on Thursday.

“It feels weird,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler said he learned a lot during the tour and looks forward to the game.

“We’re doing it for a good cause and to have fun,” he said.

His teammate, Draeden Turner, a graduate of Fort Frye High School, said the experience of participating in the event has opened his eyes to the need of a cure and was happy about a new bond created with his traditional adversaries.

“I hope they raise as much money as possible for cystic fibrosis,” Turner said. “It’s great we can come together even though we played against each other our whole lives, especially for a good cause.”