June 19, 2014
PURCHASE A PTN TICKET PACKAGE: Football | Men's Basketball
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena will be taking special measures to welcome families managing peanut and tree-nut allergies during select events in 2014, the athletic department announced on Thursday.
The Peanut/Tree Nut (PTN) Program includes the Wildcats first three home football games, 10 men's and six women's basketball contests, all 18 home volleyball matches and three wrestling events.
In order to create a safe environment for individuals with peanut and tree-nut allergies, no products containing peanuts or tree-nuts will be sold at Ryan Field or Welsh-Ryan Arena. Both venues will undergo extensive cleaning to ensure that no peanut or tree-nut material remains anywhere in the facility.
"The response to Peanut-Free Day at Ryan Field last season was overwhelming," said Northwestern deputy athletic director Mike Polisky. "We learned of so many families that were able to experience Big Ten football for the first time on that Saturday. This year we're excited to be able to offer tens of thousands of Chicagoland families perhaps their first opportunity to experience college athletics at the highest level across a number of our programs."
On October 19, 2013, Ryan Field became the first college football stadium to be entirely peanut-free when Northwestern hosted division rival Minnesota.
Reactions to peanuts and tree nuts can be life-threatening. One in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom, have a food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). Studies show that the number of children with food allergies in the United States grew by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011, and the number of children living with peanut allergy tripled between 1997 and 2008.
"Attending college sports games is often a family tradition, but for many families managing peanut and tree-nut allergies, the widespread sale and consumption of products with peanut and tree nuts at athletic events is a deterrent," said John Lehr, chief executive officer of FARE. "We are pleased to see sports teams across the country working to address these issues, and we congratulate Northwestern on leading the way in college sports to help ensure families who are managing peanut and tree-nut allergies feel welcome."
"Food allergy is a growing problem in the U.S. with peanut and tree-nut allergies being among the most common and the most severe," said Dr. Ruchi Gupta, Northwestern Medicine associate professor of pediatrics. "Now families with nut allergies can enjoy Northwestern University football, basketball and other games worry-free. On the science side, researchers at the Northwestern Food Allergy Research Consortium are working to better understand the causes of food allergy and find treatments."
To accommodate those families for whom athletic events are not often an option, special ticket packages for football and men's basketball games in the PTN Program have been created. The PTN Football Package will include the Wildcats home games against California, Northern Illinois and Western Illinois for $90. The PTN Basketball Package will include all 10 Wildcats non-conference contests for $140. Tickets are available by calling 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775) or visiting NUSports.com.
For more information about food allergies, visit FARE's website at www.foodallergy.org, while more information about Dr. Gupta's research can be found HERE.
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