Ex-NFL’er, 41, Dying of ALS


His name is Kevin Turner and was a bruising fullback for the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.  Tim Graham of ESPN.com has a very deep story on Turner and his life, falling apart after a diagnosis of ALS.

Yet if he knew then what he knows today, he’d be torn about pulling out of Prattville.

“If they would have come to me and said, ‘I’ve seen the future. This is what happens.’ Of course, I would stop playing immediately,” Turner said. “But, as we all know, nobody can see the future. For me, it just falls into a long line of bad decisions.”

Turner is divorced. He went bankrupt on bum real estate investments. He was addicted to painkillers for a couple of years. None of those problems are the worst of it.

Ten months ago, the 41-year-old father of three was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the incurable neuromuscular disorder commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Turner’s arms don’t work well, his hands even less. His pinch strength, a measurement of the strength generated by the thumb and forefinger, is one pound. That’s comparable to an infant. He doesn’t have enough might to squeeze toothpaste out of a tube.

Although Turner does not have a long time left he is doing what he can.  He has started the Kevin Turner Foundation, a fund for research of sports related head injuries and ALS.  On the homepage you can watch and then download a video with Turner, something I have done.  It is very powerful and I would love to post it here but it would take away from donations to his cause.

I encourage you to read the entire article by Graham, with the thought that if we would have protected athletes like Turner, when they first had concussive episodes, perhaps it wouldn’t all end this way;

Chances are, Turner doesn’t have long to live. One of his doctors gave him two years. That was almost a year ago.

ALS has no cure. There are no treatments to stop or reverse it. Fifty percent of ALS patients do not live three years beyond their first symptoms. Only 20 percent reach five years.

One by one, motor neurons steadily shut down. As they do, muscles wither. Although Turner’s brain will remain sharp, he will lose his ability to walk, speak and swallow.

ALS eventually reaches the muscles of the chest wall and diaphragm. Suffocation and pneumonia are the most common causes of death.

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