Santa Fe New Mexican

USC’s Jackson returns to practice after donating bone marrow


LOS ANGELES — Austin Jackson wants to lead Southern California back to the Pac-12 title, but the left tackle already scored a bigger victory when he donated bone marrow to his younger sister, Autumn, last month.

Jackson said the transplant to treat his sister’s DiamondBla­ckfan anemia, a genetic condition that causes bone marrow to not produce red blood cells, seems to be working.

“We found out about a week ago that her body is beginning to accept it,” Jackson said Friday night after the Trojans opened training camp. “She’s doing great. She was supposed to be in the hospital for about three months. She was engrafted, which means her body accepted the cells, and so she got sent home a month earlier.”

Jackson underwent tests last summer that found his bone marrow was a perfect 12-point match for his sister, who has received blood transfusio­ns every three weeks since the age of 12. He had no hesitation about agreeing to become a donor, he said, a decision made before doctors informed him doing so would present no risk to his promising football career.

“It’s my baby sister, you know,” Jackson said. “Just growing up, being the older brother, you’re told to protect your little sister.”

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