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Health risks for Clark in Denver | NFL Fan Poll

Health risks for Clark in Denver

Updated: September 4, 2012
Source: Best Sports Photos

When the Steelers come to Denver for their opening game on Sunday, safety Ryan Clark won’t be playing, due to associated health risks in Denver’s mile high altitude. It’s not the first time he sat out a game against Denver – last year he didn’t play in the Steelers’ season-ending playoff game against the Broncos and coach Mike Tomlin is doing the same thing again.

“That has been our position in the past and will continue to be our position,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “Ryan understands that and is supportive of that. I am sure he will be a big supporter of his teammates, not only in the stadium this week but in preparation. He always has been that guy and I expect that to continue.”

Clark carries the sickle cell trait, which affect red blood cells. While there are usually no symptoms of the condition, high elevation or dehydration could cause severe illness, or even death, according to ESPN.

In October 2007, Clark became very ill while playing in Denver and had to remove his gallbladder and spleen – which cut his season short. The team is not willing to risk that happening again, so Clark will be on the sidelines Sunday night.

Clark doesn’t let the diseases get him down. He established the Ryan Clark’s Cure League for patient care and sickle cell research. “We’re going to dedicate our efforts solely to sickle cell research and patient care,” Clark said. “What we’re hoping is we can be the pioneers here.” While it’s great that he is doing what he needs to stay healthy, could his absence be bad for the Steelers? Let’s hear your opinion!

(via ESPN)

Will Clark’s absence affect the Steelers against the Broncos?

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