As a young boy growing up in Nigeria, football (or soccer as it is called in the United States) was a religion unto itself. Yes, all of us in my small group of friends endured long church sermons every Sunday but that was just because our respective parents forced us to attend them. While the priest or pastor talked about the virtues of being a devout christian for hours on end we were secretly plotting the dribbling moves we planned to execute on the dirt road which we had converted into an imaginary football stadium by my childhood home. We played barefeet using a deflated makeshift game ball and with a passionate intensity that was out of all proportion to the actual importance of the games. Our games were fiercely competitive and we loved it that way. We played each game like life itself depended on it… as if armageddon would ensue if our team lost and we had to wait another turn to play again. Although we were all pretty much soccer mad, one of the members of my childhood posse wasn’t allowed to physically play the sport. His mother expressly forbade him from playing football for reasons unbeknownst to us. For the sake of respecting his privacy, we’ll refer to this friend of mine using “Ade” as a pseudonym. Ade’s mother would frequently let him hang out with the rest of us under the strict condition that he was never allowed to actually play football or any other sport. Continue reading Sickle Cell Anemia: When red blood cells look like sickles
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