Green Bay Packers great Forrest Gregg has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and his family and doctors suspect it could be related to concussions he suffered during his Hall of Fame career.
The Associated Press reports that the 78-year-old Gregg was diagnosed last month. Gregg's symptoms include hand tremors, a stooped posture, shortened stride and softened voice.
"I'd like to stop it there if I could," he told the AP in an interview.
Gregg said he is going public in order to bring more attention to the disease.
"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."
Gregg's doctors say it is unclear if the numerous concussions he suffered during his playing days are to blame, but research shows there is a link between head injuries and neurological disorders later in life.
"We know that prior head injury also increases the risk of getting dementia or Alzheimer's disease and increasingly there's a recognition players who have played in the NFL who have had prior head injuries — which is just about everybody — have a substantially increased risk of getting Alzheimer's disease. We don't know if that also applies to Parkinson's, but my guess is that it probably does," Dr. Rajeev Kumar said.
Gregg was an offensive lineman, a six-time All Pro and nine-time Pro-Bowler. He played from 1956-1971, all for the Packers except for his final year with the Cowboys. At one point he played in a then-record 188 consecutive games.
"The thoughts, prayers and support of the Green Bay Packers are with Forrest, his wife, Barbara, and his family as he faces this new challenge in his life," said Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. "Packers fans have long admired Forrest, from his playing days to recent years when he's returned to Lambeau Field and Wisconsin as a widely respected alum."