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Former NFL Great Is Battling ALS

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

 

Sad news from the NFL, as a former great has announced he is battling a horrible disease.

Dwight Clark, who played 9 years for the San Francisco 49ers, from 1979-1987, said in a statement on Sunday that he has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a degenerative neurological condition, which unfortunately, has no known cure.

“I have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease,” Clark said in a statement. “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.

 

“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,” he wrote. “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. . . .

“I’m not having a press conference or doing any interviews. That time will come. Right now, I’ve got work to do. I’ve got to devote all my energy preparing for this battle and I would hope you can respect my family’s privacy as I begin this challenge. My ultimate hope is that eventually I can assist in finding a cure for ALS, which disrupts the lives of so many and their loved ones.”

 

The 60-year old Clark, who was named to the Pro Bowl in 1981 and 1982, compiled 506 career receptions for 6,750 yards and 48 touchdowns during his career.

A native of Kinston, North Carolina, Clark is most famous for “The Catch”, a touchdown reception from Joe Montana in the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys, which helped send the 49ers to the Super Bowl, and their first-ever championship, a 26-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.

A 10th round draft choice out of Clemson by the 49ers in the 1979 NFL Draft, Clark was inducted into that school’s Hall of Fame in 1988.

We wish Clark and his family the very best is his fight against his terrible disease.

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