Off the field, the expectations for a successful drive were high, just like they will be on the field in 2024.

But this is a determined bunch of student-athletes who wanted to leverage their on-campus status to take an annual event to the next level. And more lives could possibly be saved because of it.

University of Montana Sports Information Director Eric Taber tells us that the Montana Grizzly football team signed up 235 new potential lifesaving donors from the UM campus community during their annual one-day "Get in the Game" bone marrow registry drive in late April. That number set a program record for enrolling the most new members to the National Marrow Donor Program's (NMDP) donor registry in the four years the Griz have participated in the event.

Montana has now already helped register over 800 fellow Grizzlies, far surpassing the team's goal of 70 new signups each year. The program raises awareness for the global need for marrow donors, and the Griz do their part by inviting students, faculty, staff, and the community to join the national donor registry.

Montana Grizzlies
Image courtesy of U of Montana Sports Information


So far out of those registrants, six donors from UM have been called upon to help save a life.

The Griz have a history of supporting the NMDP registry. That includes in 2013, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Justin Green joining the registry and helping save the life of a nine-year-old girl by donating blood platelets. Former Grizzly wide receiver Ryan Burke also helped save a life by donating bone marrow in 2014 after matching with a patient in need. And in 2023, defensive end Henry Nuce of Kalispell donated stem cells.

Montana Grizzlies
Image courtesy of U of Montana Sports Information


For people with life-threatening blood cancers - like leukemia and lymphoma - or other diseases, NMDP is there to connect patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. People can contribute to the cure as a member of the NMDP Registry, financial contributor or volunteer. To learn more about this noteworthy organization, you can call 1-800-MARROW2, or visit their website.

Proud of ya, Griz!


Gallery Credit: KC

LOOK: Do you see faces in these photos?

Pareidolia refers to the ability to see recognizable shapes, often faces, in random objects. Take a look at the photos below and see if you can identify any faces or shapes. Some are easy to spot, while others might be more challenging.

Gallery Credit: Stephen Lenz

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