Former San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark announced he has ALS. The 60 year old posted the message on a blog that went so viral it crashed the site.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, has no cure and affects the nervous system. It gained national attention when the “ice bucket challenge” went viral nationwide years ago.
In the blog Clark wrote:
“After months of tests and treatment, I got some bad news. I was diagnosed with (ALS). Those words are hard for me to say. While I wrap my head around the challenge I will face with the disease over the coming years, the only thing I know is that I’m gonna fight like hell and live every day to the fullest.”
Clark went on to say he is losing strength in his hand that makes buttoning a shirt impossible and he can no longer play golf or walk any distances but added that his symptoms are progressing slower than in most patients.
Now the first thing that comes to people’s minds is whether head injuries and CTE can be a cause of this disease. Although no facts and stats are available to support that, a study in 2012 concluded that former football players contracted ALS at a four times higher rate than the rest of the population.
Clark left a huge mark in NFL history when he teamed up with quarterback Joe Montana in 1981 to make “The Catch”. On the play, Clark’s left his feet in the back of the end zone to make a leaping catch and defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game.
He later retired at age 30 after playing nine seasons with the 49ers and was also the general manager for the team in 1998.
Another NFL player diagnosed with ALS is former New Orleans Saints’ Steve Gleason. Gleason is fighting severe symptoms and has been promoting awareness to the disease with much of that publicity coming from his documentary called, “Gleason.” He also has a Facebook page here.
Kevin Turner is another former player who was first believed to have contacted ALS, died in March 2016 at age 46. Although ALS was first considered as the cause, a later study suggested that Turner had advanced CTE and that led to his death.
Clark’s full detailed statement is here and we suggest you give it a read.