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Michigan beats OSU in annual blood battle, but barely

Ohio State might have won the battle on the football field, but Michigan won the battle for blood.

The final tally for the American Red Cross’ annual Blood Battle between the rival schools shows that Michigan edged out OSU by donating 2,513 units of blood, compared with 2,405 from OSU. A unit is about a pint of blood.

The win is Michigan’s third consecutive victory in the blood battle. OSU won the battle for five straight years from 2003 to 2007 before the Wolverines began their streak.

Nevertheless, both campuses should be proud, said Rodney Wilson, spokesman for the American Red Cross Central Ohio Blood Services Region.

“The fact that more than 2,400 people at Ohio State donated blood in a couple weeks is amazing,” he said. “We’re always amazed each year how generous the OSU community is in supporting all year round.”

The average daily need for blood in the central Ohio region is 650 units, Wilson said. There are 38,000 blood transfusions a day in the country, and 650 of those occur in 41 central Ohio hospitals.

The Blood Battle aims to build an inventory going into the holiday season, a time of year when hospitals face diminished blood supplies because people get busier and forget to donate, Wilson said.

OSU donors received Blood Battle T-shirts on campus throughout the competition and Blood Battle footballs during the first week. Donors also received a voucher for buy-one-get-one-free burritos at Chipotle.

Wilson said this year’s battle was pretty close.

“It’s usually not that close,” he said. “That’s a tough loss to be that close.”

Amanda Opaskar, president of the American Red Cross Club at the University of Michigan, was excited to learn of the school’s victory.

“We were thrilled that Michigan won, but we always know it is close,” she said.

The blood donated this year at Michigan constitutes the largest single blood collection in southeastern Michigan, she said.

“We lost the football game, but at least we can win the Blood Battle,” she said.

Doire Perot, the blood services chair for the American Red Cross Club at OSU and a second-year in business, said that although she expected to win this year, Michigan always comes out strong.

“I’m hopeful that next year we can come out and win it,” Perot said.

“We’re really proud of our campus, and looking forward to getting that trophy back next year.” 

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