Central New York fans of Tim Green were surprised by the announcement on Facebook by the former Syracuse University All-American Football player that he has ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
The news was personally felt by the Executive Director of the Upstate Chapter of the ALS Association. Elizabeth Krisanda attended Liverpool High School while Green was a multi-talented athlete.
“He was a truly nice guy. He was really smart. He was good looking. He was on the wrestling team, on the football team. He was the person you wanted to be.”
She feels that Green’s stature as an accomplished athlete and author has - what she calls - an incredible platform to raise more awareness about ALS and the need for research dollars.
“If you don't know someone with ALS, it's not necessarily on your radar. But when someone like Tim Green or other professional football players like Steve Gleason, who has ALS, they have a larger platform to talk about the importance of ALS.”
Green acknowledged in his Facebook post that he’s been dealing with neurological problems in his hands for five years and has “a slow progressing version of the disease.” Krisanda says ALS is often a fast, debilitating disease that weakens muscles which requires assistance.
“Whether that's access to what we call assistive technology, [such as] power wheelchairs and communication devices. The average cost to care for a person with ALS is about $200,000 a year, and for many people, that quickly wipes out their resources.”
…Forcing most people to go on Medicare. She says there is currently a five-month grace period before insurance coverage for the disease begins, something she would like eliminated in Congress. ALS symptoms are often difficulty gripping simple items like a coffee cup and then eventually no use of hands or the inability to raise arms. Voice weakness can also occur. Green says that has prevented him from speaking in schools. In a statement from the law office where Green works:
"Barclay Damon Tower, in Syracuse, will be lit red, the color of ALS awareness, on Sunday, November 18. The tower is being lit red in conjunction with the CBS 60 Minutes segment featuring Tim that will air on November 18, to help raise awareness of ALS, and to support Tim."
Green plans launch a fundraiser through a website that will go live on Sunday... TACKLEALS.com.
He adds, "Don't be sorry---let's beat this!"