What is Operation Hydration?
As One’s Operation Hydration seeks to create earlier awareness of the correlation between sickle cell and lack of hydration – preventing sports related deaths due to dehydration and exhaustion. It’s an awareness campaign that provides an annual training program for high school coaches, other athletic related staff as well as student athletes. Trainees are pre- and post-tested to measure the effectiveness of the training delivering a desired 80% increase in awareness and ultimately the foundation to mandate testing for all student athletes.
Why was Operation Hydration created?
On February 26, 2001, 18 year old, Devaughn Darling lost his life due to exhaustion during spring football practice at Florida State University. He would leave his identical twin brother, Devard Darling to live on and fulfill their shared dream to play professional football. Devard would persevere and not only make it to the NFL but also establish the As One Foundation, in memory of Devaughn. Both twins carry the sickle cell trait, which alone is no real threat to the 8% of people of color born in America. But, coupled with physical rigor and lack of hydration, could be fatal. In other words, Devaughn’s death was preventable.
Over 20 high-school and collegiate football players’ deaths have been related to sickle cell trait since 2000, making exertional sickling the leading cause of death in football players in recent history. These recent developments lead the National Collegiate Athletic Association to mandate that all Division I athletes to be screened for a genetic sickle cell trait.
Though a great start, there many more athletic communities to reach; through Operation Hydration the mission of the As One Foundation–to educate and promote awareness of Sickle Cell Trait while encouraging youth to achieve their dreams in the face of life’s challenges–is fulfilled.
Book a Presentation
WHAT: A Operation Hydration Trainer (OHT) will come to your place of business, classroom, gym, conference, health fair or any other athletic event or setting and provide a 20-30 presentation on the dangers of exertional sickling and importance of proper hydration. Trainees are pre- and post-tested to measure the effectiveness of the training delivering a desired 80% increase in awareness.
WHO: Coaches, other athletic related staff as well as athletes.
WHEN: Fall Season runs from September 1 through November 30 and the Spring Season runs from March 1 through May 31.
Request Speaking Engagement
Devard Darling is the Global spokesperson for Operation Hydration and is available for fee or donation-based speaking engagements with a minimum of 30 days prior notice.
“Devard was great with the kids and they are eager to do more events such as this with the district.” – Tyenise Blackmon, Parent Educator, Heritage Rose Elementary
“One of our supporters has just had her first child after trying for almost 8 years. In the midst of her and her husband’s continuous celebration, the mother received a letter in the mail that said their new son has the sickle cell trait. Her husband had no idea of the possibilities that he could carry this trait but from their involvement with As One she had some knowledge of what this meant as not to be too alarmed after receiving that letter. It’s odd, perhaps, to think that a diagnosis such as this would be a blessing but I think the education she has from the work that As One does honors Devaughn and that is what we all strive to do with each event, fundraiser, conversation we have about As One.” – Naomi Miller, As One Board Member
Become a Certified Trainer or Volunteer
JOIN the Operation Hydration movement and become a certified Operation Hydration Trainer (OHT) or Healthfair Volunteer! OHTs are As One Foundation Volunteers that successfully complete Operation Hydration Certification Course.
WHAT: The Operation Hydration Certification Course is 4 hours of classroom training on proper hydration, sickle cell trait vs. sickle cell anemia, emergency procedures, and presentation aclamation. Upon completion of the course, OHTs receive an official Operation Hydration embroidered polo and presentation binder.
WHO: Anyone 16 and older is welcome to register for the course. No experience necessary; must be able to pass a background and reference check.
WHEN: Trainings are offered twice per year on the first Saturday of August & February.
WHY: Not only do you get the opportunity to educate the athletic community on a very important issue facing thousands of athletes across the country, but you can also:
- Enhance your resume; great for those in the medical profession
- Engage in a great networking opportunity
- Enhance your presentation skills in front of crowds of 10 to over 100
- Fulfill community service hours
- Be on the forefront of the first awareness campaign of this nature in the United States
- Get involved in As One Foundation and changes lives!
HOW: Operation Hydration presentation schedule runs from September 1 through November 30 and again in the spring from March 1 through May 31. We will work with your schedule and presentation preferences to place you in at least 2 presentations per year.
VOLUNTEERS: We always need volunteers at health fairs and other athletic related events. Volunteers are needed for set up, breakdown, and to serve as the As One liasion for 2-4 hours at various times throughout the year. We prep you before the event with the information necessary. No experience or classroom course necessary; just your smiling face and good attitude!