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McMinn Central football player battles disease | People

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McMinn Central football player battles disease
McMinn Central football player battles disease

Dylan Cochran has a lot more on his mind than just victory on the field. 

His ordeal began last year when went to the doctor with a suspected concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit. But doctors had a much more serious diagnosis for the 17-year-old.

A disease called Adreoleukodystrophy (ALD) threatens to disable him.

Now his family is hoping a bone marrow transplant will help keep him on the field.

As one of McMinn Central Football's kickers, he's got to be cool under pressure, but not even his illness seems to rattle him.

"Just knowing that God has it all in his hands, I ain't worried about a thing," said Cochran.

After his diagnosis last November, Dylan's life could have stopped, but he decided to keep playing against his doctor's advice.

His mom, Lisa, supported him.

"We told him live life to the fullest," said Lisa. "Because he knows what the outcome could be if the disease started to progress."

Right now, he's symptom free. But Lisa Cochran says ALD can be debilitating.

The disease attacks the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. That ultimately can disrupt speech, hearing, and movement.

Dylan will probably never cure his disease, but he could keep it from getting worse. Lisa says if her son gets a bone marrow transplant, there's a good chance they can manage the disease.


Saturday morning Dylan's team will expand far beyond McMinn Central football.

His family is asking the community to join them at Englewood First Baptist Church in Englewood from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. for a bone marrow registration drive.

"I've been told out of 14 million, there's no match for him yet," said Lisa Cochran.

All that's required of participants tomorrow is a simple cheek swab. Their DNA is then sent off to the national registry for matching.

In many instances, according to the National Marrow Donor Program, donating marrow is no more complex than giving blood.

You can also visit their website to request an at-home registry kit or make a contribution to the cause in Dylan's name by clicking here.

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