Muslim players train with empty stomachs, nourished spirits during Ramadan


MARK DENT / The Dallas Morning News
August 27. 2010

. . . Shahzeb Khan and Mohammed Mohammed run drills at football practice. Their most recent meal came about 13 hours ago, at about the same time as their last gulp of water.

The athlete who shuns sustenance in Ramadan is far from novel. Hakeem Olajuwon fasted each year during Ramadan, as did fellow NBA players Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Shareef Abdur-Rahim . This year, two Muslims in the NFL , Husain Abdullah of the Minnesota Vikings and Hamza Abdullah of the Arizona Cardinals, are fasting and competing.

Rashid Abdul-Salaam is the president of the Association of Muslim Athletes. In recent years, he said, it has become more common for young Muslim athletes to maintain their fast even during intense physical activity.

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