Dwight Clark, a retired San Francisco ’49er, has come forward to indicate that he has ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which is the neurological disease often called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. Clark played from 1979-1987 and is best known for “The Catch” in the final minutes of the 1982 playoff against Dallas which gave the victory to San Francisco. Experiencing weakness in his left hand in 2015, Clark sought medical attention and received the ALS diagnosis. His condition, although progressing slowly to this point, has affected his right hand, abs and right leg making it difficult to button his shirts, run or walk. ALS is 4 times more likely to strike football players than the general population and former footballers are considered 3 times more likely to die from ALS, Alzheimer’s or other neurological disease than non-footballers.
Kevin Turner, another former pro-football player, died in November 2016 at the age of 46. Anne McKee, MD, a researcher from Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation found that his brain showed an advanced case of CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
It is essential to prevent concussions and to recognize concussive injuries early. Dwight Clark encourages that effort be placed on early detection, treatment and prevention and recognizes that his diagnosis may relate to his football injuries.
Key Words: Dwight Clark, Kevin Turner, ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Anne McKee MD, Concussion Legacy Foundation, likelihood of ALS, sports concussions