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Syracuse football icon Tim Green reveals he has ALS

Sporting News logo Sporting News 11/15/2018 Gabrielle McMillen

a person sitting on the grass © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited Former Syracuse defensive end and linebacker Tim Green revealed that he has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. 

Green took to Facebook to reveal his diagnosis and said he would share his story further during Sunday's edition of "60 Minutes."

"For the past five years I've been coping with some neurological problems in my hands," Green wrote. "At first the doctors thought the damage I'd done to my elbows in football was the culprit, so they operated to release the nerves, but the issue persisted and my voice began to weaken as well. That's the only reason I've had to stop visiting schools to talk with kids. Finally, I was diagnosed with ALS. That's the bad news.

"Now the good news: Like many conditions, ALS has different forms. While of course I'd rather not have it at all, I am extremely grateful that mine is a slow-progressing version of the disease."

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Sunday's interview with "60 Minutes" will mark the second time Green has appeared on the program. In 1996, he gave an interview where he admitted his love of the game clouded his decision to walk away, even though he knew he was potentially taking years off his life.

"Those dots are pretty well-connected by him," said Steve Kroft, the "60 Minutes" correspondent who also went to Syracuse. "He says he thinks it has a lot to do with him getting ALS and maybe everything to do with him getting ALS."

Also known as Lou Gerhig's Disease, ALS is a condition that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, weakening muscles over time and impacting the body's ability to function. There is no known cause of the disease.

According to Kroft, Green initially didn't want treatment, but decided to seek it at his family's urging. He tried to keep it private, but as his condition worsened he decided to go public.

Green said the NFL has done a better job in recent years about protecting the players on the field with new regulations. He said he might not have ALS if those regulations were in place when he played.

Researchers haven't found a clear link that shows a correlation between playing football and ALS.

Green, 54, was a two-time All-American while playing for Syracuse from 1982-85. He was drafted by the Falcons with the 17th overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft and played until 1993.

After his career was over, he became a best-selling author, graduated with a law degree and worked in television on "Fox NFL Sunday," "Good Morning America" and "A Current Affair".

A fundraiser will go live after the "60 Minutes" interview to fund ALS research.

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