49ers Legend Dwight Clark Has Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Paul Spinelli, Associated Press
Paul Spinelli, Associated Press

San Francisco 49ers legendary wide receiver Dwight Clark has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Clark made 49ers history with a fingertip catch to give San Francisco a win over Dallas in the January 10, 1982, NFC Championship game.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Clark played in the NFL for nine years, all of which he spent with the 49ers. “He went to two Pro Bowls and had 506 catches, 6,750 yards, the third most in franchise history, and 48 touchdowns.” He is now 60 years old and announced Sunday that he has Lou Gehrig’s disease.

He posted an open letter to the 49ers’ community on former team owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.’s website, which said:

In September of 2015, I started feeling weakness in my left hand. I was mildly paying attention to it because since my playing days, I’ve constantly had pain in my neck. I was thinking it was related to some kind of nerve damage because it would just come and go. 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.

Clark went on to say, “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.”

He stressed that he is not going to the media about his disease at this time, that he will not have “a press conference or [do] any interviews.” He said he is focused on the battle ahead and mindful of the way his disease can and does disrupt the lives of families and the individuals diagnosed with it.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.