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As a running back and kickoff returner for the Dallas Cowboys, a Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame inductee, and the first freshman to lead the Arizona State University Sun Devils in rushing in 30 years, Darryl Clack experienced a high volume of blows to the head experiencing his first concussion in the fifth grade where he experienced memory loss not remembering his parent’s names. In high school, he experienced another with blurred vision, memory loss, and headaches. His college years would bring on much more and throughout his professional career. Because of the repeated head trauma, he has cognitive deficits and neurological damage.
On October 10, 2016, he was rushed to Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, CA, after showing stroke-like symptoms and falling into a coma brought on by acquired Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP), a rare disorder of the blood-coagulation system, causing extensive microscopic clots to form in the small blood vessels throughout the body. These small blood clots, called thrombi, can damage many organs including the kidneys, heart, and brain.
Darryl was diagnosed with TTP and plasma therapy was started immediately. This therapy is a life-saving procedure where antibodies (proteins) are removed from the blood that damaged his ADAMTS13 enzyme. Then, the blood is put back into him through an IV line inserted into one of his blood vessels.
On October 27, 2016, he was transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona where he received top-notch care and continued plasma therapy to control his illness.
After 2 1/2 months of intense treatment, on December 16, 2016, Darryl was discharged from the Mayo Clinic however, he remains an outpatient and sees his doctors consistently.
He is also in rehabilitation due to numbness in his right leg caused by femoral neuropathy--occurs when you can't move or feel part of your leg because of damaged nerves, specifically the femoral nerve.
In addition to TTP, in July 2016, he was diagnosed with stage-one dementia, due to the many hits to the head from football.
These traumatic events, three months apart, have prompted Darryl to write a book and start a foundation to bring awareness to TTP and brain injuries.
This is not only a life changing experience but a lifestyle change, however, Darryl Clack is taking it one day at a time and is grateful to be alive.