Though Michigan hasn’t beaten Ohio State on the football field in any of the schools’ last six meetings, it has beaten the Buckeyes in the past two Blood Battles. Blood Battle is a competition between the two rival schools to see which school can collect the most pints of donated blood. This year, Michigan supporters must take the time to give blood and save lives — with the added bonus of beating our school’s fiercest rival. Members of the University community who are capable of giving blood should make a donation to beat OSU and, more importantly, save lives.

Nov. 4 marked the beginning of this year’s annual Blood Battle. The event, now in its 29th year, spans just over three weeks and ends on Nov. 24, three days before the Nov. 27 Michigan-Ohio State football game. The event is sponsored by the American Red Cross and Blood Drives United, which is backed by the service organization Alpha Phi Omega. Ohio State won five consecutive Blood Battle victories between 2003 and 2007. Michigan has made a comeback in the past two years, winning by more than a hundred pints last year. Michigan leads Ohio State in Blood Battle victories with 16 wins overall — Ohio State has 11 wins and the schools tied once in 2000. Blood donations can be made by students, faculty and community members at organized locations across campus.

There is no synthesized substance that can serve as an adequate substitute for human blood, so donations are the only way to replace lost or unhealthy blood. According to America’s Blood Centers’ website, one pint of blood can save up to three lives. The site also mentions sobering statistics regarding how often blood is needed (about once every two seconds), and how many transfusions are needed in America each year (more than 4.5 million). And though 37 percent of the adult population in the U.S. is eligible to give blood, only 10 percent donate regularly. There is always a need for more blood, and University community members should step up to help.

The competitive aspect of the event drives many people to participate — and that’s fine, especially considering the intensity of the rivalry. Everyone eligible should donate and keep the Blood Battle bragging rights in Ann Arbor for the third consecutive year.

But more important than bragging rights or numbers on the scoreboard is the number of lives that supporters from both schools can save by taking a short time out of their day to donate blood if they are able. Typically, donation takes less than an hour and donation sites have been set up in easily-accessible locations all over campus. Participating in Blood Battle is an easy, quick way to help people in a very profound way. If the University community can muster up close to the average 37 percent during this Blood Battle, it could have an impressive impact. Individuals interested in donating can go to bloodbattle.org to find a donation site.

As much as the mentality of competition is fun, the reality is that there is no loser of the Blood Battle. Members of the University community who are eligible to give blood should make their way to a donation site and take part in this life-saving initiative.

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