Speaking to the media yesterday, Penn State football coach James Franklin revealed his daughter Addy has sickle cell anemia. Franklin, who was hired to replace Bill O’Brien in January, has two daughters, Addison, 5, and Shola, 6.
Franklin and his wife, Fumi, have known Addy had the disease since birth. Sickle cell anemia causes red blood cells to form a crescent shape (like a sickle) because they contain abnormal hemoglobin. Approximately 1 in 5,000 Americans have the disease, mostly African-Americans.
Franklin told the press that Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center and Children’s Hospital were a factor in taking the Penn State job. The team was at the Hershey Children’s Hospital Wednesday.
“There is nothing more important than taking the time to share a smile with somebody and making a positive impact on their life,” Franklin said. “Coming here and having this type of visit, it puts things in perspective for you.”
O’Brien left Penn State after two seasons to become head coach of the Houston Texans. Franklin previously coached at Vanderbilt.