SMU, Packers and Cowboys Great Forrest Gregg Diagnosed With Parkinson's Disease

Categories: Sports
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An old friends passes along this story from the Associated Press: Former SMU great Forrest Gregg -- Birthright, Texas's own, and a two-time All-Southwest Conference selection in 1954 and '55 -- has disclosed that he's been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Gregg, a first-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers and a Dallas Cowboy at the end of his championship-packed career, was also the man chosen in 1988 to coach the Mustangs following SMU's return to football after receiving the NCAA's death penalty -- a moment considered the 63rd greatest in Hilltop history.

From the AP account:
Although the cause of the debilitating neurological disorder is unknown, Gregg, his family and his neurologist say his disease may be related to numerous concussions he suffered during his playing career in the 1950s at SMU and from 1956-71 with the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. ...

The former offensive lineman, who was a six-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler, said he wanted to go public with his diagnosis to promote understanding of the disease and push for more research. He said he hopes to help others recognize the signs of Parkinson's and seek treatment early enough to delay the degenerative effects of the disease on both mind and body.

"I don't pretend to say that I'm important to the scheme of things in the whole world, but I can do something and help along people who have this disease," Gregg said. "So, I'm kind of just saying that I have it, I want to do something about it and I think I found the right people to help me along the line.
As the Pro Football Hall of Fame reminds, Vince Lombardi once wrote: "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!"
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Forrest Gregg is one of the classiest, and most interesting individuals that has ever graced this City and during that terrible time in the NFL before free agency (when I I am guessing he was forced to play for the treacherous Packers), Lombardi called him the best player he ever coached- which is all that needs to be said.  But... Parkinson's disease is most prevalent in men and the elderly and Mr. Gregg is front and center in both those demographics.  Former NFL players like Steelers center Mike Webster (dec.) might have a little better claim to concussion linked illness than someone that has been removed from the game since the late 1960's.  The news of Mr. Gregg's condition is very sad, but the vast majority of people suffering from an onset of Parkinson's are younger than Mr. Gregg and they didn't play organized football.

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