Thursday night is a big night for the Troy University Trojans, as they host Western Kentucky University. Although the Trojans are known for their cardinal, black and silver uniforms, they're thinking pink for the game. It's part the October campaign to bring awarenes for breast cancer.
"Every guy on the team will have a pink ribbon on the back of their helmet. Adidas helped out with the gloves, so every player on our team has been issued a pair of gloves," said James Gardner, Director of Equipment Services
On the sidelines, they'll be wiping off the sweat with pink towels. It's something the Trojans do for one game every October. "It's for a great cause, and that's why all our guy love to do it. Most of the guys leading up to the month are already asking me non-stop questions about what are we gonna do and we try to do a team thing and not an individual thing," said Gardner.
He says it's a unique chance to show the Trojans' support for breast cancer awareness in front of a nationwide audience, since the game will be broadcast by ESPNU. That includes local people who have been affected by the disease, like Keona Collier, whose aunt was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. "Just proud to be part of a good community, a great college, that supports such big causes in small ways that make a big difference. It's inspiring," she said.
Dr. Richard Schloemer, a plastic surgeon who treats many breast cancer survivors, says that while there's no cure, early detection is key. He says it's a good thing that a local team is taking on the challenge to help educate the community. "Isn't it wonderful, the NFL all the various teams, the high profile people, but people, like us, wearing pink, and it remind us every year that we have a responsibility," he said.
The ritual is especially moving for players whose family members have been affected by the disease. "Those guys usually keep it kind of quiet, but some of them do let it out, so I think it does mean a lot to them to see their teammates come together and help out for a good cause that they went through," said Gardner.
Although going pink is a Trojan tradition, the color is placed in a different place every year. That means players and fans don't know where they'll find it until they see it in the locker room or out on the field.