By Ken Reed
Former Chicago Bears great Gale Sayers has been diagnosed with dementia, according to his family. Sayers’ wife, Ardythe Sayers, said the 73-year-old former running back was actually diagnosed four years ago but the condition wasn’t made public at that time.
“Like the doctor at the Mayo Clinic said, ‘Yes, a part of this has to be on football,’” said Ardie Sayers at the couple’s home in Wakarusa, Indiana.
Mrs. Sayers said her husband physically is very healthy but his mental condition has deteriorated.
“That brain controls everything, doesn’t it?” added Ardie Sayers.
Gale Sayers’ brother Roger talked about how tough it is to watch his brother’s mental capacity decline. It’s “tough” to “build memories all your life, and the next thing you know you don’t remember anything,” said Roger Sayers.
The Sayers’ revelation follows closely the news that another former pro football star, Dwight Clark, is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease and that Clark believes playing football might be the cause.
“I don’t know for sure,” said Clark. “But I certainly suspect it did.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.