Home > Uncategorized > Lou Gehrig may not have had Lou Gehrig's disease.

Lou Gehrig may not have had Lou Gehrig's disease.

A study published today in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology indirectly suggested that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or as you have already guessed if you didn’t know, Lou Gehrig’s disease, was not the disease that inflicted and ultimately was the demise of the Yankee slugger who declared himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

not a baseball player

What doctors found was that markings in the spinal cords of professional players diagnosed with A.L.S indicated that they, in fact, did not have A.L.S but a different disease, one caused by trauma from concussions and that eventually eroded the central nervous system similar to how A.L.S degenerates its victims.

Ice. So unforgiving.

From The New York Times:

The study published Wednesday…..represents the first firm pathological indications that brain trauma results in motor-neuron degeneration, and that the resulting disease (at least in the three men studied) is actually not A.L.S. It is a different disorder with different markings, specifically high levels of two protein abnormalities in the spinal cord that compromise nerve function.

When Lou Gehrig was playing professional baseball, batting helmets were not worn nor required. During an exhibition game in 1934, Gehrig was hit with a pitch above his right eye and knocked unconscious. He played the next day. Ten years earlier, the Yankees and the Tigers got into a bench-clearing brawl and Gehrig hit his head on concrete, after taking a swipe at, and missing, Ty Cobb. In between these times, Gehrig was hit in the head and knocked unconscious while playing a ground ball down at first base. Throw in a handful of other head “injuries” and there’s only so much sloshing about a brain can take.

Back in those days, little was known about concussions and the lingering effects they had. To play the next day was commonplace and evidence as being a “tough-guy”. In today’s world, great care is taken to treat professional athletes when their noggin gets dinged. And with good reason.

So, what about the name “Lou Gehrig’s disease”? This could be a big “oops!” Not only are we dealing with a whole new disease (albeit very similar) but the A.L.S Association is in trouble of losing the face and obviously the name of their disease. Parkinson’s has Michael J. Fox….

two of the many symptoms of Parkinson's....wolf-like appearance and beer can biting

Johnny Dickshot disease just doesn’t have the same ring to it.


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