Tony Proudfoot is a name most of us would not identify with, unless you go north of the border. Proudfoot was a hard-hitting Canadian Football player for 12 years, also a man who had his life end at 61 by ALS (Lou Gerhig’s Disease). After football he went back to teaching, and some of his “well-known status” came from his life-saving actions in 2006 during a shooting at Dawson College. What he should be known more for was his raising of over $500,000 for ALS research and his last donation, his brain for study.
On the second last day of 2010, Proudfoot passed away from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, leaving behind a wife and three children and too many former Montreal Alouettes teammates and admirers to number. What he also left behind was a tangible means of examining ALS and the possibility he believed in: that the disease bore a connection with repeated head trauma. The kind he endured as a hard-hitting defensive back in the Canadian Football League.
Proudfoot and his family’s decision to donate his brain and spinal cord is another constructive step in trying to diagnose the brain and what affects it. Tissue samples of Proudfoot’s 61-year-old brain have been taken to Montreal’s Neurological Institute and Hospital and passed along to pathologists in Toronto.
The Globe and Mail ran this story today.
With the new evidence that this horrible disease may be brought on by multiple head trauma, there is nothing more that Proudfoot could have done to further the information. A BIG thank you to him and his family for making such a HUGE contribution to this effort.