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What happened to Steve McMichael? Bears legend diagnosed with ALS

Steve McMichael
Steve McMichael
Walter Sharp
ANALYST
Modified 24 Apr 2021
News

Steve McMichaels was one of the key players to the 1985 Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears defense. The former NFL star announced that he has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig disease. Jarrett Payton, the son of Walter Payton, was able to catch up with Steve McMichael's and received this statement from him.

"I'm not going to be in the public anymore. You're not gonna see me out doing appearances. I can't even sign my name anymore."

Steve McMichaels is one of the only NFL players that was able to transition from being a star on the football field to a star in the wrestling ring. The announcement of McMichael having ALS is a hard pill to swallow for NFL fans and wrestling fans.


What is ALS?

Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS)

According to mayoclinic.org, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control. Doctors are unsure on how or why ALS occurs but some of the cases are inherited.

ALS can begin with muscle twitching and weakness of a limb or when an individual starts to slur their speech. Eventually the disease will take control of the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. Unfortunately there isn't a cure for this fatal disease.

Symptoms of ALS

  • Difficulty walking or doing normal daily activities
  • Tripping and falling
  • Weakness in your legs, feet or ankles
  • Hand weaknesses or clumsiness
  • Slurred speech or trouble swallowing
  • Muscle cramps and twitching in your arms, shoulder and tongue
  • Inappropriate crying, laughing or yawning
  • Cognitive and behavioral changes

The disease often starts in an individual's hands, feet or limbs. It then spreads to other parts of the individual body. As time passes, ALS destroys the nerve cells and your muscles begin to get weaker. Towards the end it will impact an individual’s ability to chew, swallow, speak and breathe.


Steve McMichaels 15-year NFL Career

Steve McMichael
Steve McMichael

Steve 'Mongo' McMichaels was drafted by the New England Patriots with the 73rd overall pick in the third-round of the 1980 NFL Draft. McMichael was with the New England Patriots for the 1980 season before joining the Bears. He spent 13 years with the Chicago Bears. Mongo finished his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers.

During his 15-year NFL career, Steve McMichaels was selected to two NFL Pro Bowls, two NFL All-Pro teams and won the 1985 Super Bowl. He also earned Player of the Week during the 1984 NFL season with Chicago. McMichaels has put together a great career in the NFL.

Steve McMichaels Career Stats

  • Total tackles: 847
  • Sacks: 95
  • Fumble recoveries: 17
  • Forced fumbles: 13
  • Interceptions: 2

Twitter reacts to the news about Steve 'Mongo' McMichaels having ALS

Published 24 Apr 2021
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