NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson was the grand marshal for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Foundation’s (AAAAI) fourth annual Light Up the Night 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, March 6.
“I think that a lot of people don’t realize sometimes that they have an allergy,” Dickerson said. “You should have the knowledge and know what you’re allergic to, what you can’t be around.”
The Light Up the Night 5K Walk/Run began at 5:30pm at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Participants paid $45 to register; they received a tote bag, shirt, hat and glow gear. The proceeds will go to research for the prevention and cure of allergic and immunologic disease and asthma.
Asthma and allergy awareness is a cause dear to Dickerson, the superstar running back suffered from allergies throughout his NFL career. He persevered through games despite having trouble with breathing, a runny nose and itchy eyes.
“[You’re] playing on a field where they just cut the grass,” Dickerson said. “Sometimes you’re allergic to the astro turf and that was a job, so you had to kind of put that aside a little bit for those three hours and kinda suck it up.”
His children also suffer from allergies and he has lost a family member to asthma attacks. After meeting Stuart Epstein MD, Dickerson found relief from his allergies. Epstein gave Dickerson allergy shots.
Dickerson began his career with the Los Angeles Rams, being drafted in the first round in 1983. His rookie effort gave Dickerson Player of the Year, All-Pro, Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors. Dickerson expressed his excitement for the Rams returning to Los Angeles next season.
“They belong in L.A.,” Dickerson said. “They should have never left L.A. in the nineties and this is where they should have always been.”
During his second year, Dickerson rushed 2,105 yards and broke O.J. Simpson’s rushing record. Dickerson spent five years playing for the Rams and 11 years in the NFL. He was also selected to play in Pro Bowl six times, according to the NFL Hall of Fame.