U-M And Ohio State Engage In Annual 'Blood Battle' Before Big Game

Nov 24, 2016

Blood Bag
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

For football fans, there is a great deal of excitement and anticipation for Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State game in Columbus with both teams vying for a spot in the College Football Playoffs.  But there is another contest taking place between the schools that actually can make the difference between life and death.


And, it's actually called the "Blood Battle."  For years, Michigan and Ohio State have challenged one another in the lead-up to the football game to see which campus can collect the most blood and add the most number of people to the organ donor registry.

Throughout the month of November, both schools have been hard at work at both.  Hailey Kellet serves as executive officer of Blood Drives United, which organizes the annual "Blood Battle."

"The need for blood is constant, and people always need to donate blood, so, you know, even if you can't get out to donate for our competition, people should always be trying to donate blood and help save lives."

How many lives?  Kellet says you may be surprised at how far a pint of blood can go.

"Each pint can save up to three lives.  So, if we have 2,000 pints of blood, we can save up to 6,000 lives, which, obviously, is a huge, huge impact on the surrounding community."

With that in mind, the so-called "Blood Battle" is responsible for savings thousands of lives every year.  Last year, Ohio State collected more than 2,500 pints of blood, Michigan more than 2,200.  According to Kellet's figures, that's over 14,000 lives saved.

So, no matter your favorite football team, no matter the outcomes of Saturday afternoon's contest on the field, the people of Ann Arbor and Columbus are "Blood Battle" winners.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu