Football and fasting on Ramadan
Training camp is a strenuous ordeal for NFL football players, especially for Husain Abdullah, who is fasting for Ramadan while he trains.
This story was originally covered by PRI's The Takeaway. For more, listen to the audio above.
Devout Muslims will be fasting this month for Ramadan. That means no food, no water and no physical intimacy from sunrise to sunset. Among the practitioners is Minnesota Vikings safety Husain Abdullah, who is also training to get ready for the upcoming season of NFL football.
Muslim holidays fall on the lunar calendar, which means that Ramadan begins at a different time each year on the Western, Gregorian calendar. Last year, the holiday fell toward the middle of the football season. That may have been preferable for Abdullah, according to Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, correspondent for PRI's The Takeaway, because training camp can be even more strenuous than the season. And last year, according to Abdul-Matin, "Abdullah's numbers dipped slightly during the season, because he was fasting."
Abdullah now has to figure out a way to balance his professional sporting career with his religious life. Abdul-Matin points out, "This is a very American way of looking at it."
One of the biggest concerns surrounding Abdullah's fast is his health. Forgoing water in the middle of August can be dangerous. In fact, a member of Abdullah's team, the Minnesota Vikings, died in 2001 during training camp at the age of 27 due to complications with heat illness. "I'm sure that if he reaches a dangerous point, they will hydrate him immediately," Abdul-Matin told The Takeaway. Abdul-Matin points out, "It won't be a fault of his if he has to hydrate himself to save his life."
His teammates may think he's crazy for putting himself through the ordeal, but Abdullah is determined to both fast and train for the coming NFL season. In a blog post for The Takeaway, Abdul-Matin quotes Abdullah saying:
"I'm putting nothing before God, nothing before my religion. This is something I choose to do, not something I have to do. So I'm always going to fast."
"Here and Now" is an essential midday news magazine for those who want the latest news and expanded conversation on today's hot-button topics: public affairs, foreign policy, science and technology, the arts and more. More "Here and Now"