Via Jenn Casey, I found this interview in Allergic Living with NFL player Adrian Peterson on his adult-onset shellfish allergy. I was particularly struck with his account of the severity of his first allergic reaction:
Allergic Living: Many of us heard that you had a big allergic reaction. Could you take us back to those moments: where were you, what were you eating, what happened?
Adrian Peterson: It was 2011 at training camp and we were at lunch. I had a bowl of gumbo – it had the normal stuff, shrimp, scallops, seafood. Maybe 30 minutes after I ate lunch and got back to my room, I was relaxing, resting up before afternoon practice – that’s when I started experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis, though I didn’t know at the time. My throat started to itch, my eyes were extremely itchy. I remember laying down rubbing my eyes; it kind of raised a red flag.
When I stood up and looked in the mirror, I saw my eyes were swollen, and my throat was starting to swell up on me, so I called my athletic trainer and told him the symptoms. Immediately he was like, ‘Hold on, I’m coming up, just wait for me!’
When he got there, he had the EpiPen auto-injector, I administered it into my thigh, and immediately I felt my throat start to open up. I was able to breathe better, and it gave me the time I needed to get to the hospital to seek further assistance.
It kind of threw me off guard, because I eat seafood all the time, and I’ve always eaten seafood my entire life and then – just out of the blue – I have this life-threatening allergic reaction.
After training camp I went to see an allergist and found out that I’m allergic to shrimp, lobster and scallops. From that point on, I’ve had my action plan, which is knowing my allergic triggers, and always having access to my EpiPen, just in case I have an allergic reaction. I have my EpiPen on me at all times.
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.
These kinds of stories make me think that EpiPens should be a standard part of every first aid kit. Without that EpiPen from the trainer, he might not have survived — or the reaction might have done him serious damage.
For more information about living with food allergies, check out my two interviews with Jenn Casey.
- Duration: 1:02:06
- Download: Standard MP3 File (21.3 MB)
- Duration: 1:19:05
- Download: Standard MP3 File (27.2 MB)