Williams had been a volunteer football coach at Interlachen High School in Putnam County, Florida, since early this year and his friends and colleagues said he appeared to be in good health, according to an article by the Associated Press. Williams leaves behind his son, who followed in his dad’s footsteps and currently plays football for Jacksonville University.
We know the statistics: Ten people die of asthma every day.
But statistics are cold – they don’t tell the stories of the lives that were suddenly lost or what went wrong when everything seemed so right. Williams was devoted to his family and the young people he coached. According to the Interlachen High School principal, Williams, a professional athlete, had seemed to be in good shape and perfectly healthy, shattering the myth that only people with severe, debilitating asthma are at risk of death.
NFL linebacker Chris Draft, who was recently signed with the Washington Redskins, knows firsthand what it’s like to have asthma suddenly take your breath away on and off the playing field. In college, his symptoms nearly sidelined his hopes of playing professional football until he found the right medical care and treatment plan. Determined to help others overcome asthma and lead active, healthy lives, Chris founded The Chris Draft Family Foundation in 1996 to inform and inspire people and families with asthma.
Earlier this month, Chris Draft and I launched the Great American Asthma Challenge, the first-ever grassroots movement to eliminate asthma death and suffering. I contacted Chris earlier today to tell him about Jarvis Williams. We agreed that the news multiplies our resolve to enroll every family affected by asthma in the Great American Asthma Challenge.
A mom whose son died of asthma at age 6 once said: “I thought asthma was a way of life. I never knew it could be a way of death until it happened to my son.” A 2-year-old died in her father’s arms while he gave her a breathing treatment – only two hours prior, she’d been released from the emergency department across the street from their home. She died without a struggle.
Help change the future of asthma by taking steps today to eliminate needless asthma death and suffering. It’s easier than you think. Look, Learn, Act: