Forrest Gregg Reveals Battle with Parkinson’s Disease — NFL Career to Blame?
NFL Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg, who once held the NFL consecutive games played record with 188 in a row, told The Associated Press he's been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease on Wednesday.
The former All-Pro player and his neurologist believe Gregg's disease may be related to the many concussions he is believed to have suffered while playing offensive line with the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys from 1956-71. However, the true cause of the disorder is uncertain.
Gregg is currently suffering from hand tremors, a shortened stride when walking, a slouched posture and a hushed voice all as a result of Parkinson's. He decided to reveal his diagnosis to raise awareness of the condition so that others may recognize potential symptoms -- and seek subsequent treatments -- earlier to delay its debilitating effects on the body and mind.
"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.
No cure exists for Parkinson's, but doctors prescribe both medication and physical therapy to help mitigate the effects of the condition that affects more than five million people around the world, including former boxing champion Muhammad Ali and actor Michael J. Fox. As the disease worsens, patients suffer worse tremors and stiff limbs and eventually lose brain cells crucial to the production of dopamine, which helps the body regulate muscle function.