“Purple Out” will brighten Friday Night Game, Raise Awareness for ITP

Murtha, ITP and The Color Purple


Will Denio, Lion´s Roar Editor

     Three in every 100,000 people are diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura each year, but what is it? ITP is a blood disorder characterized by a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood. Platelets are cells in the blood that help stop bleeding. A decrease in platelets can cause easy bruising, bleeding gums, and internal bleeding.

     Two years ago, when he was a freshman, Mitch Murtha was diagnosed with ITP after playing football and noticing an excessive amount of bruises. It was then that doctors told Mitch that he would never be able to play football again. After spending time visiting other doctors, searching for a solution, Murtha was able to find answers at Boston Children’s Hospital and was given medication to treat his ITP. While there is no known cure for ITP, the medication allowed Murtha to prove his doctors wrong and hit the gridiron again. Murtha is very grateful for the chance to be able to play, saying, ¨A lot of people take what they have for granted, so appreciate every moment you get with anything you´re passionate about.¨     

     In honor of Mitch, and in order to spread awareness about the rare disorder, his teammates on the football team decided to wear the color purple, both with accessories and face paint, for the first home game against Johnston. The team chose purple because it is the color that represents those with ITP.  The word spread quickly, and students agreed to wear purple in the stands to support Mitch and every other person who suffers from ITP. 

     ¨It means everything to me,¨ said Murtha, ¨I never really expected a ‘purple out,’ it started with me asking coach if we could wear purple eye paint, and it had a snowball effect.¨ The Instagram account lhs.express, a non-affiliated page that covers sports games and student section themes, posted a video of Mitch explaining the disorder, and asking those who attend Friday night’s game to wear purple to spread awareness. Mitch elaborated on the definition of the disorder and explained that September is ITP awareness month, so Friday night’s game was a perfect fit. 

     To Mitch and the rest of LHS, Friday night is a lot more than a game, it is a sign of the loving and supportive community that is ingrained into our school. 

     Murtha is more than grateful for the support. ¨I  normally try to keep my ITP on the down low because I don’t want people to think of me differently, but I realized that I have a chance to spread some awareness because of our awesome community. I actually started to tear up when I saw all the support the purple out was getting. This is by far the best community in the state and I’m proud to be a part of L-Town.¨