Did Lou Gehrig Have Lou Gehrig’s Disease?

The New York Times has an interesting article that explores recent suggestions that Yankees legend Lou Gehrig may not have had Lou Gehrig’s disease. It turns out that “the luckiest man on the face of the earth” may have been felled by concussions or brain trauma.

Researches at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bedford, Mass., and the Boston University School of Medicine have been studying the misdiagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in athletes — particularly in cases of concussion trauma. It makes for an interesting read.

In Lou Gehrig’s case it will likely remain a mystery: he was cremated after his death.
Source: New York Times

12 thoughts on “Did Lou Gehrig Have Lou Gehrig’s Disease?”

  1. buckeye:

    You are exactly right about the problem of head injuries we’ve pushed down the road with our vets.

  2. Mespo

    This does not bode well for all the veterans suffering head injuries from roadside bombs.

    I’m glad the research has been done. Hopefully they can work on a cure using this new evidence.

  3. Leave it to researchers in Boston trying to disprove something a Yankee had/did.

    Probably a terrible use of sarcasm/light-hearted tomfoolery, but I couldn’t resist.

  4. If this is the case, then I move that ALS be renamed “Stephen Hawking’s Disease”. There is no doubt that he has ALS.

    Or we could just call it ALS.

    Or “horrific”.

    Because that’s what it is.

  5. This is a silent epidemic that I see all too ofter in my personal injury practice. Head injury is chronically misdiagnosed and ignored. Sports participants are the most affected, and children are particularly suceptible. Add to that the sports culture of “being tough” despite signs of obvious injury, and you have a confluence of factors that guarantees tragic results.

    Bryant Gumbel featured a segment on ALS last night on his HBO: Real Sports show with reporter Bernie Goldberg. Goldberg examined the tragic lives of football players who suffered numerous concussions and now suffer with ALS. Apparently a new link has been found between repeated untreated concussions and the brain secreting toxic proteins into the spinal column which produces the same ultimately fatal symptoms as ALS.

    Gehrig, honored as baseball’s “Iron-Man,” suffered seven concussions from bean balls and was back in the lineup the next day. His head was so swollen after one horrific episode that left him motionless on the ground for 5 minutes, that he was forced to used Babe Ruth’s (who had a notoriously large head) cap the next day for the game. Gehrig inability to rest both his body and mind certainly compounded his condition. Ironically, Gehrig’s chief claim to fame in life, may also have been his causa mortis.

  6. Pikked,


    Initial stages of medical research….hmm…well..we know how Wall Street keeps screwing us…should we renamed it….after all….they have cremated those files as well….

  7. I always thought it much, much too coincidental that Lou Gehrig would die of a disease named Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

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