MTSU vs WKU blood drive kicks off

Jack Martin cringes as a nurse adjusts his needle during Thursday’s blood drive. “I’ve given blood quite a few times now, it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to,” Martin said.

Brody Rexing

The ninth annual “blood battle” between Western Kentucky University and Middle Tennessee State University began on Monday. This three-day challenge pits the rival schools against each other, as students and football fans from each university compete to show out in greater numbers at blood donation locations.

The American Red Cross sponsored event comes during “critical need” for blood donors, per the organizations press release. Students from the winning university will receive the blood battle trophy, in addition to bragging rights over their opponent. All donors have a chance to receive a commemorative blood battle t-shirt and a $5 Amazon gift card.

“The annual Blood Battle between WKU and MTSU has become a deep-seated charitable feud which evokes strong school spirit and pride from fans on both sides,” said Garry Allison, regional donor services executive for the Red Cross Tennessee Region in a press release. “There’s no better way for fans to gear up for the game than by rolling up a sleeve to help save lives.”

MTSU is the blood battle’s reigning champ, but the title is up for grabs. The winner will be announced when the MTSU football team takes on the Hilltoppers at WKU on Friday.

Blood donated will benefit patients suffering from different ailments, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery, organ transplant, leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease patients. 

The American Red Cross also encourages donors with type O, A negative and B negative to make “Power Red” donations. These special donations entail taking a concentrated dose of red blood cells to “maximize impact.” This does not include taking plasma or platelets from the blood as both are returned safely to the donor, according to the release.

Students can donate at the Preston Activity Center between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. through Wednesday. Donors may schedule an appointment through the Red Cross Blood Donor app, but walk-ins are accepted.

News reporter Brody Rexing can be reached at [email protected].