Northwestern’s Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena will take special measures to welcome families managing peanut and tree-nut allergies during select events in 2014.


The Peanut/Tree Nut (PTN) Program includes the Wildcats’ first three home football games, 10 men’s basketball and six women’s basketball games, all 18 home volleyball matches, and three wrestling events.


In order to create a safe environment for individuals with peanut and tree-nut allergies, no products containing peanuts or tree-nuts will be sold at Ryan Field or Welsh-Ryan Arena. Both venues will undergo extensive cleaning to ensure that no peanut or tree-nut material remains anywhere in the facility.


“The response to Peanut-Free Day at Ryan Field last season was overwhelming,” said Northwestern deputy athletic director Mike Polisky. “We learned of so many families that were able to experience Big Ten football for the first time on that Saturday. This year we're excited to be able to offer tens of thousands of Chicagoland families perhaps their first opportunity to experience college athletics at the highest level across a number of our programs.”


Last year, Ryan Field became the first college football stadium to be entirely peanut-free when Northwestern hosted division rival Minnesota on October 19.


Reactions to peanuts and tree nuts can be life-threatening. One in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom, have a food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research & Education. Studies show that the number of children with food allergies in the United States grew by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011, and the number of children living with peanut allergy tripled between 1997 and 2008.


For more information about food allergies, visit foodallergy.org. To read the original story, and for more information about Northwestern sports, visit nusports.com.


For more stories from this month’s Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University’s online community.