Ty Montgomery knew he had sickle-cell trait.
For the first time, Montgomery dealt with one of sickle cell’s most alarming symptoms: blood in the urine. That’s why Montgomery was inactive for the Green Bay Packers’ game on Sunday at Atlanta.
“To be honest, it wasn’t really scary,” Montgomery said on Monday. “I don’t know. It’s the life I live, the game we play. Sometimes things happen.”
According to Hematology.org, sickle cell trait affects between 8 percent and 10 percent of the African-American population. As Montgomery could attest until last week, most people with sickle cell trait have no symptoms. However, sickle cell symptoms tend to pop up among those with high levels of physical activity. Playing professional football obviously demands a high level of physical exertion. Dehydration also factors into the appearance of symptoms.
“It doesn’t concern me,” he said. “A lot of people have sickle cell trait and some of them don’t even know and not everybody experiences symptoms of it. I’m not concerned about anything.”
So unconcerned is Montgomery that he pushed to play against Atlanta. Coach Mike McCarthy, however, kept Montgomery sidelined for the 33-32 loss.
“It’s something we’re working through, obviously aware of,” McCarthy said on Monday morning. “I think our history medically is we play the high side of caution when we get into these type of situations. But he’s doing great. If you asked Ty Sunday if he could play, he wanted to play. But this is just gathering all the information and making the right decision.”
Montgomery is confident that he’ll be fine through hydration and diet and will be cleared to face Indianapolis on Sunday.
“So far, all signs lead to we feel confident to just take it day by day and play this week.,” Montgomery said. “So, we’ll see.”
Montgomery's agent, Damarius Bilbo, issued a statement:
"My client Ty Montgomery has known he was a carrier for the sickle cell trait since he played at Stanford University. Prior to a couple of weeks ago, his health or performance had not been impacted by this hereditary blood disorder, directly or indirectly, but he did experience a complication after the Green Bay Packers' Thursday night matchup against the Chicago Bears.
"After that matchup, Ty discovered the presence of blood in his urine. The doctors informed me that this symptom could be connected to his kidney being impacted. While already traveling to Dallas, Texas to visit family, he went to a local hospital to be evaluated. Ty spent 16 hours under observation between late Friday night and Saturday. Although not proven, there could be a link between his physical activity in the contest against the Bears, the impact on his kidney, and his disorder.
"The decision to rest him in the game against the Atlanta Falcons was a precautionary measure."
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.