Donor Dudes play for a cause |

Donor Dudes play for a cause

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
The players on the Aspen High School football team sport fluorescent green socks to mark the annual Donor Dudes Game on Friday night. The Skiers and the Coal Ridge Titans wore the green socks from the Chris Klug Foundation to raise awareness of organ donorship. Klug, a former high school football standout in Oregon, attended Friday's game at Aspen High School.
Leigh Vogel/The Aspen Times |

The socks.

Who could watch the Aspen and Coal Ridge high school football teams take the field without looking at the wild, fluorescent green socks — worn by both teams?

The socks were provided to both teams by the Aspen-based Chris Klug Foundation. They were designed to increase the visibility and awareness of organ-donor programs.

Klug, himself a former high school football standout in Oregon, went on to a career in international snowboard racing and the Olympics — with the help of a life-saving organ donation.

“Some of my best memories (in sports) are from high school football,” Klug said Friday night as he served as an honorary team captain for the coin toss before the Coal Ridge-Aspen game.

“The memories, the camaraderie … playing football with your friends. It was so exciting,” Klug said as the high-scoring first-quarter took off.

“With the Olympics and … racing all over the world, I still remember those high school games,” said Klug, an all-state quarterback who opted for snowboard racing instead of NCAA Division I football.

Klug, an organ transplant recipient, spoke to the Coal Ridge Titans earlier in the week at their school outside New Castle, talking about his career as an athlete and the value of organ donor awareness.

Klug also addressed the Skiers and handed out the colorful, eye-catching green socks.

As Klug watched from the sidelines, the green socks ran from one end of the field to the other.

Before the first quarter ended, Aspen had scored three touchdowns. And Coal Ridge had scored twice.

But the big victory went to organ-transplant awareness.

That brought a huge smile to the ever-smiling face of Chris Klug.

“I’d love to play … one more game,” said Klug — high school football alum, U.S. Olympian and organ-transplant recipient.