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Fw: NATAP: Former Football Player Launches Hep C Program

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  • Alley Pat
    NATAP http://natap.org/ ... Former Chargers kicker helps launch hepatitis program Associated Press SAN DIEGO - Former Chargers star Rolf Benirschke is helping
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2006
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      NATAP http://natap.org/
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      Former Chargers kicker helps launch hepatitis program

      Associated Press

      SAN DIEGO - Former Chargers star Rolf Benirschke is helping kick off a campaign to raise awareness of hepatitis C, which he battled for nearly eight years.

      Benirschke on Tuesday announced the "Hep C STAT!" campaign, which urges individuals to stop and think about their own risk factors, get tested and talk with a physician about treatment before the disease progresses.

      Benirschke was diagnosed with the disease in the summer of 1998 when he had a routine blood test while obtaining more life insurance. He had been infected by the blood transfusions he received in 1979 while battling ulcerative colitis, which almost killed him and interrupted his NFL career.

      "Ironically, the blood that saved my life now put it at risk," the former kicker said. "I was scared for my four kids and my wife who were depending on me. It was a blind-side hit of the worst kind. Part of the challenge with this virus is there really aren't symptoms. They call it a silent killer."

      Benirschke said he didn't realize how sick he had been until he got off the treatment for hepatitis. "Now I realize how much energy drain there is in the virus," he said.

      Benirschke said the campaign is to urge at-risk people to get tested for the blood-borne viral infection.

      He said those at risk include IV drug users, people who have shared needles, people who received blood transfusions prior to 1992 and people who received a tattoo or body piercing more than 10 years ago.

      Benirschke, who is helping to promote World Hepatitis Awareness Day on Oct. 1, kicked for the Chargers from 1977-86.




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