Dwight Clark probably most the most important catch in the history of San Francisco 49ers football but how much does it matter now that Clark has ALS?
It was a horrible Sunday for the National Football League. It was revealed that two big names from the league’s past, Dwight Clark and Gale Sayers are very ill. Clark released a statement through DeBartolo Holdings, not the team announced he had ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Ardythe Sayers, in an article in the Kansas City Star that her 73-year-old husband was diagnosed with dementia four years ago and she blames Sayers’ football career.
Clark in his statement did not rule out playing football as a cause for his terminal illness.
“After months of tests and treatment, I got some bad news. I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
“I have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Those words are still very hard for me to say.
“While I’m still trying to wrap my head around the challenge I will face with this disease over the coming years, the only thing I know is that I’m going to fight like hell and live every day to the fullest.
“There is no test that will positively diagnose you with ALS. You have to eliminate the possibility of all other diseases and disorders and then wait to see what additional symptoms you develop. I visited six neurologists and three ALS specialists. I also was treated for a B12 deficiency, which sometimes can mirror the symptoms of this debilitating disease.
“In addition to losing strength in my left hand – which makes opening a pack of sugar or buttoning my shirt impossible – I have now experienced weakness in my right hand, abs, lower back and right leg. I can’t run, play golf or walk any distances. Picking up anything over 30 pounds is a chore. The one piece of good news is that the disease seems to be progressing more slowly than in some patients.
“I’ve been asked if playing football caused this. I don’t know for sure. But I certainly suspect it did. And I encourage the NFLPA and the NFL to continue working together in their efforts to make the game of football safer, especially as it relates to head trauma.”
Sayers and Clark were big stars at one time. Now they might be football casualties and that should give parents a cause to wonder if their children should play football.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league owners got horrible news Sunday about the health of two former players, one with dementia, one with ALS that might be related to playing football.