Denver Broncos cornerback Brendan Langley spotlights The Ehlers-Danlos Society with #MyCauseMyCleats

Posted November 29, 2018

When you hear hoofbeats, think Broncos wearing zebra stripes!

Denver Broncos cornerback Brendan Langley will wear zebra-striped cleats to raise awareness for the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes as part of the NFL’s #MyCauseMyCleats campaign. Langley chose to spotlight the Ehlers-Danlos Society to honor a friend.

“My lifelong friend Shayla is an Ehlers-Danlos patient and I see her everyday struggles and they should no longer be overlooked!” stated Langley.

“I’ve lived with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome my entire life and I am constantly reminded of the lack of awareness related to the illness,” added Langley’s friend Shayla Swint. “Many of us go years without a proper diagnosis. We are made to feel as though our struggles aren’t real as a result of the lack of knowledge and awareness. Therefore, I was elated when my lifelong friend Brendan Langley thought enough of me to use his platform to bring awareness to EDS in honor of me, and all the other Zebras fighting every day. It is my hope that this #MyCauseMyCleats NFL campaign will start the much-needed conversations around the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes.“

The My Cause, My Cleats initiative was created in 2016 for NFL players to showcase the charitable cause that is most important to them to a national audience. Langley will wear the cleats on weeks 13 through 15, with a special spotlight on December 15th as the Broncos host the Cleveland Browns at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver. He received his custom cleats on “Unboxing Day” on Tuesday, November 27th.

Zebra stripes were chosen as the design on the cleats because the Ehlers-Danlos patient community often identifies with zebras. Medical students have been taught for decades that, “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.” In other words, look for the more common and usual, not the surprising, diagnosis. Unfortunately for individuals with Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, this thinking can lead to years of undiagnosed frustration and uncertainty, as their doctors may not consider EDS as a possible explanation for their often-debilitating symptoms. The Ehlers-Danlos Society has adopted the zebra as a way of saying, “Sometimes when you hear hoofbeats, it really is a zebra!”

“We are incredibly grateful to Brendan Langley and the Denver Broncos for choosing the Ehlers-Danlos Society for #MyCauseMyCleats,” stated Lara Bloom, International Executive Director for the Ehlers-Danlos Society. “Brendan is correct: the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are all too often overlooked, leaving many without a diagnosis for years. EDS in the spotlight on a wide-reaching field like the NFL makes a huge impact as we work towards worldwide awareness. The cleats look fantastic, and I’m looking forward to watching Brendan wear them at the game against Cleveland. Go Broncos!”

Langley, #27, is a second-year cornerback with the Denver Broncos. He played 11 games in his rookie season. He was selected by the Broncos in the third round of the 2017 draft (101st overall). Originally from Marietta, Georgia, Langley began his college career at the University of Georgia before transferring to Lamar University, where he was named a first-team All-Southland
Conference selection as a defensive back and return specialist.

The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of 14 heritable connective tissue gene disorders that produce a spectrum of complex problems across multiple systems of the body. The physical characteristics that are common to all types of EDS include hypermobile joints, skin hyperextensibility, and tissue fragility. EDS is known to affect more than one in 5,000 men and women of every race and ethnicity. Each person’s case of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is unique. Severity may range dramatically, even within families. Prognosis depends on the type of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and the individual.

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