Forrest Green, the 78-year-old NFL legend, was diagnosed last month with Parkinson’s disease, which may be related to numerous concussions he suffered over his playing career.
Through the 1950s at SMU and onward from 1956-71 with the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, Gregg took a lot of hits.
“One time in college, I went over to the other team’s bench,” Gregg said. “I woke up with an ice pack on the back of my neck and I said, ‘What’s going on?’ They said, ‘You’ve been gone for a while.’ So that’s what I know about concussions. That’s what I know about getting hit.”
Parkinson’s has left Gregg with symptoms including hand tremors, a stooped posture, shortened stride and a softened voice.
Dr. Rajeev Kumar, a Parkinson’s expert and medical director of the Colorado Neurological Institute’s Movement Disorders Center in Denver, stressed that it is uncertain if Gregg’s disease is a result of his playing football. Kumar does note that research shows a link between head injuries and neurological disorders later in life.
Gregg has chosen to speak about Parkinson’s to raise awareness about the disease. The earlier its symptoms are detected, the easier it is to arrest its debilitating progress on the body.
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