Another Blow After Years of Hits

August 22, 2010

ALS diagnosis for ex-Patriots player; NFL considers aid.

Kevin Turner was strumming his guitar about 18 months ago when the fingers of his left hand suddenly stopped listening to him. Maybe it’s arthritis creeping in, thought the former New England Patriots fullback, or lingering effects from many a football injury.

“I was telling them, make a G chord,’’ he said, “and they wouldn’t move.’’

Turner, known on the gridiron for his punishing blocking, had been shrugging off growing weakness in his hand, but now he couldn’t ignore it. He had surgery to fix the neck injury that ended his career, thinking that may have caused the hand problem. But there was no improvement, and the weakness spread to his right arm.

Testing recently brought a stunning diagnosis: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The 41-year-old Alabama native is the 14th former National Football League player known to be diagnosed with the often-fatal and incurable nerve disorder since 1960. That’s a rate eight times higher than the rest of the adult male population.

So many former players have been diagnosed with ALS that the NFL is considering whether to provide benefits to help with their care, league spokesman Greg Aiello told the Globe yesterday.

Click here to read the entire article.

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