A couple weeks ago, SB Nation blog Mid-Major Madness shared the story of Bryan Black, an Oregon man with epilepsy and the goal of collecting all 351 Division 1 college basketball jerseys.
Black was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2012 and has been dealing with daily seizures for even longer. However, Black’s passion for college hoops means that during the months of November to April, he has something to take his mind off the symptoms of his condition.
Black doesn’t see college basketball as mere stress relief. He sees it as a lifesaver. For the last two years, he says he has had far fewer seizures during college basketball season than during other times of the year.
“The only thing I can explain is that I know my stress level goes down in that time and I have this feeling of stability and comfort that I don’t have during any other time,” Black said.
And during the actual games, Black fares even better.
“When I’m watching college basketball, I hardly have any,” Black said.
This offseason, Black has taken up the hobby of collecting jerseys. He got his first jersey, from Eastern Washington, on March 30, and has collected 133 in less than four months.
The hobby has had multiple positive effects. Of course, it has helped distract Black from his epilepsy during the months without college basketball to watch. But it’s also helped spread awareness. Over 3 million people in the United States have epilepsy, and Black’s ever-expanding jersey collection has brought his story to over 100 different communities and fanbases.
Northwestern is the latest school to join the cause.
Chris Lauten, NU’s Director of Basketball Operations, deserves credit for making this happen. You can follow Black at @350jerseys4hope on Twitter as he approaches the halfway point on his mission.