Marcus Hudson was one 49er who didn't suffer from a turkey hangover on Thanksgiving. The defensive back can't eat turkey or chicken, beans, tomatoes and citrus fruits. Shrimp makes him break out, and as his teammates found out on a cross-country flight to the East earlier this year, peanut butter induces a rash and nausea.
The second-year player is highly allergenic and deeply asthmatic. Nevertheless, he plays professional football at the highest level and is a key to the 49ers' defense on passing downs and an instrumental contributor on special teams.
Most people with Hudson's allergies wouldn't risk asthmatic attacks by racing around daily on the field.
“It's more of a hassle than anything else,” he said.
In high school, Hudson's asthma was more that just a hassle when he fainted after crossing the finish line of a 4×100 relay. He was rushed to the hospital with a collapsed lung. Now he takes an injection of medicine before every game to suppress adrenaline, which can bring on asthma.
Hudson wants to reach out to parents and kids and let them know that allergies and asthma don't have to ruin the enjoyment of sports.
“You can still play, even if you have asthma,” he said.
“There's a lot of different stuff I do,”he added. “I find myself using tea as a solution (for allergies). I think it's the steam from the tea opens things up and lets things out. I've always got to find out what the ingredients (of food) are before I just dive into it, like I did with the peanut butter cookie.”
Hudson, who loves sweets, downed the cookie on a flight Oct. 19 to New Jersey for a game against the Giants. He soon found himself surrounded by team doctors, who attended to an itchy rash and nausea.
The worst part about the incident was the reaction of his fellow defensive backs, who, once they knew he was OK, teased him mercilessly.
“Somebody wants to put peanut butter in my food, or make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” Hudson said, “or peanut M&M's because they know I like candy.”
As for Thanksgiving, his mother made the traditional meal for his father and five older brothers, and then fed Hudson ham, macaroni and yams.