Dwight Clark announced he has Lou Gehrig's disease and suspects playing football might have caused the illness.
Clark, 60, the wide receiver who made “The Catch,” the most famous play in 49ers’ history, announced that he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS, which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a terminal neuromuscular condition that affects control of muscles needed move, speak, eat and breathe.
Clark’s iconic, leaping, fingertip catch of a six-yard pass from Joe Montana in the 1982 NFC Championship Game gave the 49ers’ a 28-27 victory over the Cowboys and a trip to their first Super Bowl.
Clark played for Clemson and he was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 1988. He was picked by the 49ers in the 10th round of the 1979 draft.
Clark says he's been asked if his football career caused his ALS. He says, "I don't know for sure. But I certainly suspect it did." He encourages the NFL and the players' association to work together in making football safer.
Clark says he's lost significant strength in his left hand and also has weakness in his right hand, midsection, lower back and right leg. He says he “can't run, play golf or walk any distances”. He says he first experienced symptom in September 2015.
He noted the disease seems to be progressing more slowly in him than in other patients.
Clark spent his entire nine-year career (1979-87) with the 49ers. He went to two Pro Bowls and had 506 catches, 6,750 yards, the third-most in franchise history, and 48 touchdowns. His No. 87 was retired in 1988.