Legendary womens soccer champion Brandi Chastain is no stranger to adversity. While best known for her historic penalty kick against China in 1999 to win the womens World Cup in front of 90,000 screaming fans, Chastain has also made a name for herself advocating for nonprofits and charities.
Chastain made headlines in March when she pledged to donate her brain to science for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) research, and she hopes to do it again in partnering with AbbVie for My IBD Game Plan, a campaign to educate others about Crohns disease, colitis and other irritable bowel disorders (IBD). Chastains 10-year-old son, Jaden, is diagnosed with Crohns.
Through soccer Ive had this elevated platform that maybe other parents dont get to have, Chastain, 48, told FoxNews.com.”This is as important as my advocacy for those who wanted to play soccer or have a field to play on. We need to know about why being educated about IBD, and Crohns and colitis is important because you may not have it, but someone you know probably does.
Jaden began experiencing possible symptoms of Crohns disease about a year before his July 2015 diagnosis. It began as intermittent low-grade fevers, diarrhea and occasional accidents that the family thought were byproducts of being around other grade-school children and sharing germs. When he developed a fistula a sore or ulcer that tunnels through the intestine and into surrounding tissue, most commonly around the rectum Chastain and her husband, Jerry Smith, knew it was time to consult a pediatrician. A day after their initial appointment, they visited a gastroenterologist who confirmed a Crohns diagnosis.
I had surely heard of Crohns, I had surely heard of IBD, but I had absolutely no idea what it meant. I didnt understand any of the physical symptoms I just didnt know anything about it, Chastain said. It was in my vocabulary but not a part of my knowledge base.