Forrest Gregg battling Parkinson's disease
Forrest Gregg set an NFL record for durability during his day, playing in 188 consecutive games during a Hall of Fame career with the Green Bay Packers and later the Dallas Cowboys.
Gregg, 78, was diagnosed in September with Parkinson’s disease, and according to the Associated Press he wonders if it’s not related to the numerous concussions he suffered during his playing career. There is no known cause for the neurological disorder. Per the report, Gregg suffers from hand tremors, stooped posture and a softened voice.
“I don't pretend to say that I'm important to the scheme of things in the whole world, but I can do something and help along people who have this disease," Gregg said. "So, I'm kind of just saying that I have it, I want to do something about it and I think I found the right people to help me along the line.
"I had a friend who had Parkinson's and he didn't find out he had it until it was too late to do anything about it and we lost him and when I first heard this, you can believe me, it shook me up."
Gregg was diagnosed by Dr. Rajeev Kumar, a Parkinson’s expert at the Colorado Neurological Institute’s Movement Disorders Center in Denver. Kumar wonders if there is a tie-in between head injuries and the disease.
"We know that prior head injury also increases the risk of getting dementia or Alzheimer's disease and increasingly there's a recognition players who have played in the NFL who have had prior head injuries — which is just about everybody — have a substantially increased risk of getting Alzheimer's disease,” Kumar said. “We don't know if that also applies to Parkinson's, but my guess is that it probably does.”
Certainly everyone hopes that more research can provide hope for those who are afflicted with this debilitating disease.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune