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Dwight Clark announces he has ALS

3/20/2017 5:25:59 AM
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Dwight Clark, the wide receiver who played the starring role in “The Catch,” the most famous play in 49ers’ history, announced Sunday night that he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

ALS, which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a terminal condition that affects control of muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe.

Clark, 60, said in a lengthy post on former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.’s website that he first began experiencing symptoms in September 2015 when he started feeling weakness in his left hand. The disease has progressed to the point that he also has had weakness in his right hand, lower back, legs and abdominal muscles. He is unable to run, walk any significant distance or play golf. He noted the disease seems to be progressing more slowly in him than in other patients.

“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 wrote.

“I’ve been asked if playing football caused this,” Clark wrote. “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.”

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