Olympic swimmer urges meningitis vaccinations for kids

Dara Torres (Courtesy of Get in the Game)
Dara Torres is a 12-time Olympic medalist. Credit:Get in the Game

Many parents carefully pack protective gear for summer sports, like helmets and kneepads.

But one thing parents might not think of is a vaccination for meningitis — even though it can spread in close quarters like sports teams, through passed water bottles or shared gym mats.

Twelve-time Olympic medalist Dara Torres is on a mission to amp up vaccination awareness, especially among parents of active children.

“It’s easier to contract something like that in shared space,” she explains.

Torres, who has a daughter, 7, and 13-year-old twins, got involved with the Get in the Game prevention campaign after finding out that meningitis can kill a healthy child in as little as 24 hours.

Another scary stat? The symptoms mimic the flu, causing many to assume it is a cold that will pass.

Parents should discuss a vaccination with their healthcare provider, Torres says, an easy option to ensure they avoid the “nasty” disease.

That’s what Baltimore native Rayna Dubose, 29, calls it – a rising basketball star, meningitis stripped her of her lifestyle by causing amputations to both legs and arms at 17.

One day, she was a college freshman who thought she had the flu. The next, she was waking up from a three-week coma in the hospital to distraught family members and news of amputations.

“As soon as my freshman year started, it came to a screeching halt,” she says. “It was devastating.”

Another survivor helping with the Voices of Meningitis awareness group, Jamie Schanbaum, 24, from Austin, wants parents to know that a vaccination could have averted her losing her fingers and legs.

“This could have been prevented,” she says. “No one should have to learn how to walk when you’re 20.”

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.