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Forrest Gregg links his Parkinson’s Disease to concussions

Forrest Gregg AP

Pro Football Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg has revealed that he has Parkinson’s Disease. And he thinks his football career may have caused it.

Gregg told the Associated Press he, his family and his neurologist believe the disease may be linked to concussions he suffered during his playing career.

The 78-year-old Gregg, who was diagnosed last month, said he doesn’t know how many concussions he suffered as a player, either at SMU in the 1950s, or with the Packers and Cowboys from 1956 to 1971.

“One time in college, I went over to the other team’s bench,” Gregg said. “I woke up with an ice pack on the back of my neck and I said, ‘What’s going on?’ They said, ‘You’ve been gone for a while.’ So that’s what I know about concussions. That’s what I know about getting hit.”

Gregg said he decided to go public with his diagnosis because he wants to promote research into Parkinson’s.

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37 Responses to “Forrest Gregg links his Parkinson’s Disease to concussions”
  1. jimmysee says: Nov 16, 2011 2:53 PM

    Sorry to hear the news, coach.

  2. lacharger2112 says: Nov 16, 2011 2:57 PM

    I’m afraid we will be reading many stories like this one in the years ahead. Great man, terrible situation.
    Wish all of these players good health long after football.

  3. revrondog says: Nov 16, 2011 2:57 PM

    Bad news. Good luck with your upcoming fight with Parkinsons.

  4. rodgerthat says: Nov 16, 2011 2:58 PM

    My best friends dad has Parkinson’s and he never played a down or had a concussion in his life.

  5. rpiotr01 says: Nov 16, 2011 2:59 PM

    “Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached.”

    - Vince Lombardi

    Good luck to him and his family.

  6. brownsfn says: Nov 16, 2011 3:02 PM

    Sorry but everything that is wrong with these ex players isnt because they played football…sh*t happens…its getting ridiculous hearing every ex player saying they blame the NFL for every little thing that goes wrong with them…

  7. philtration says: Nov 16, 2011 3:15 PM

    Is that what made you encourage your players to take cheap shots at opposing players with no other reason than to end their season or career?
    Was your thinking clouded or was that your real character coming out?

    The stuff the Packers pulled while Gregg was their coach was some of the most pathetic crap in NFL history.
    He did not care about the concussions, torn ACLs, damaged shoulders and broken ribs that he ordered his goons to dish out. He took pride in it.

    I just can’t whip up any sympathy for a turd like Forrest Gregg.

  8. tdk24 says: Nov 16, 2011 3:15 PM

    Or maybe it’s just Genetics. Soon they’ll be trying to tie cancer to football, or balding to football, or getting fat when your old to football, or being broke to football, or being rich to football, or getting hit by a moving car to football.

  9. knucklebucket says: Nov 16, 2011 3:18 PM

    brownsfn says:
    Nov 16, 2011 3:02 PM
    Sorry but everything that is wrong with these ex players isnt because they played football…sh*t happens…its getting ridiculous hearing every ex player saying they blame the NFL for every little thing that goes wrong with them…

    _________________________________

    Come on man. If you have ever had a concussion then you would know that getting them on a regular basis will not make your golden years too much fun. Don’t be so bitter just because you’re a Browns fan.

  10. tigeralum2010 says: Nov 16, 2011 3:18 PM

    @brownsfn

    Did you miss the part where it said his nueroligist? Or can you just not read? Browns fans are typically delusional anyways, so I guess you,re basin your opinion off your neurology degree right

  11. warvette says: Nov 16, 2011 3:24 PM

    when the league started pulling in multi-billions of dollars in revenue each year, that’s when all these things became a story. relevant? how many lawyers want that nfl money? how many things can we blame on the nfl? i slipped and fell down while jumping up and down after a touchdown, can i have some of that money? i think it’s less science as it is lawyers that are responsible for all these things, and i think the nfl knows it.

  12. yzguy431 says: Nov 16, 2011 3:24 PM

    someone fine somebody!

  13. warvette says: Nov 16, 2011 3:27 PM

    rodgerthat says: Nov 16, 2011 2:58 PM

    My best friends dad has Parkinson’s and he never played a down or had a concussion in his life.

    ——————————–
    i hear ya. where’s the proof that football caused this? i’m a lifelong packers fan, but the guy is 78 years old- it was bound to be something! if it happenned when he was 45 i could see the tie-in.

  14. steeelfann says: Nov 16, 2011 3:30 PM

    Sorry but everything that is wrong with these ex players isnt because they played football…sh*t happens…its getting ridiculous hearing every ex player saying they blame the NFL for every little thing that goes wrong with them…
    ——————

    Exactly.

    Besides, what ever happened to FREEDOM???
    If you want to play and get paid for the conditions that are present and you accept the dangers for that nice job which is really just playing sports, then you should be allowed to play. Further, the NFL, the owners, whomever, should not be responsible if anything negative happens. That is called RISK that you accept in signing a contract. There is no negligence in almost all of this. Logical minds can see there is risk in playing sports, including football, downhill skiing, hunting grizzly bears, jumping out of planes, etc. It is a choice folks. Keep lawyers out of normal people’s lives!

  15. canadianvikingfaniii says: Nov 16, 2011 3:35 PM

    brownsfn says:
    Nov 16, 2011 3:02 PM
    Sorry but everything that is wrong with these ex players isnt because they played football…sh*t happens…its getting ridiculous hearing every ex player saying they blame the NFL for every little thing that goes wrong with them…
    ————————–
    Ask Muhammed Ali about that one.

  16. blackqbwhiterb says: Nov 16, 2011 3:36 PM

    I believe him. How many times each week do offensive linemen and defensive linemen bang heads in the trenches? There’s no way you can do that for years through high school, college, and the pros and not be affected in the brain and nervous system. Look how many linemen you read about on this site dying at relatively young ages. Wonder why Olin Kreutz abruptly quit less than a week after Kent Hull passed away? I’m guessing he saw that, took stock of his life, and bailed. Can’t really blame a guy for that, if it is the case.

  17. newmarketmaulers says: Nov 16, 2011 3:36 PM

    @ brownsfn

    U you should blame the NFL for giving the Browns back.

  18. chc4 says: Nov 16, 2011 3:38 PM

    Um, he is 78! Concussions… seriously?

  19. mallet22 says: Nov 16, 2011 3:40 PM

    Agree with brownsfn…Homeboy’s pushing 80, s!@t happens.

  20. earthtopft says: Nov 16, 2011 3:56 PM

    It’s what you get from hanging around with Parkinson.

  21. chris6523 says: Nov 16, 2011 3:57 PM

    Before weighing in on this, I decided to do a little research into Parkinsons Disease, none of which is particularly surprising.

    Men are considerably more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women.

    As people live into their 70s and 80s, the likelihood that they develop Parkinson’s increases exponentially.

    People who have suffered brain injuries are 4 to 11 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than people who have not developed brain injuries.

    So, in Forrest Gregg’s case, I think that the fact that he is a 78 year old male puts him in a fairly high risk category for Parkinson’s. Add in the fact that he likely suffered quite a few brain injuries over the years, and that moves him up to the highest risk category for Parkinson’s.

    At his age and given his gender, Forrest certainly could have developed Parkinson’s had he never suffered a single concussion. But the concussion’s he has suffered certainly didn’t aid his neurological health.

  22. earthtopft says: Nov 16, 2011 4:09 PM

    Still, it’s probably preferable to have to deal with Parkinson’s at 80 than Black Lung at 60, from a lifetime spent working in a coal mine.

  23. nesportsfan0428 says: Nov 16, 2011 4:49 PM

    I love the people on here using the internet to tough-talk an old man.

    Stop giving the internet a bad name.

  24. lacharger2112 says: Nov 16, 2011 5:08 PM

    Nowhere in the article does it say that he is going after any NFL money. He is bringing attention to this disease not blaming the NFL or saying they are even responsible.
    All of you who are saying that he and his lawyer are after NFL money obviously didn’t read the article.
    You have as much compassion for your fellow human beings as Cleveland has Superbowl’s!

  25. glac1 says: Nov 16, 2011 5:15 PM

    Very tough disease. My prayers and thoughts go out to him.l

  26. packerfanfordecades says: Nov 16, 2011 5:38 PM

    Note to Green Bay administration staff: please find a way to make Forrest an honorary captain for a home-field coin toss before the effects of the disease manifest themselves in an acute way.

    Give him the warm embrace of a loving crowd at a home game at least one more time.

    Thanks for listening.

  27. Slim Charles says: Nov 16, 2011 5:50 PM

    Well, I don’t know if it’s due to football, but some of the posts to this article seem to indicate that brain damage is very prevalent among people who comment on blogs.

    Yeah, this guy wants to sue the NFL for millions of dollars at age 78. Give me a break.

  28. clevername1 says: Nov 16, 2011 6:05 PM

    I loved watching Michael J. Fox playing football all those years. I agree…crap happens.

  29. garyman1 says: Nov 16, 2011 6:21 PM

    rpiotr01 says:
    Nov 16, 2011 2:59 PM
    “Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached.”
    - Vince Lombardi

    I’ll tell you what….how GREAT would that be to have freikin Vince Lombardi say that about you. Not too bad.

  30. steel5692 says: Nov 16, 2011 7:41 PM

    Although I am saddend to hear this news, I find it hard to believe that concussions cause every problem for retired NFL players. I was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease at 32yo. I never played football past High School. I also have never had a concussion. No one knows for sure what exactly causes it besides your brain does not produce enough Dopamine. Life is not always fair, And Mr. Gregg is 78yo for god’s sake. We all know the older you get the more things go wrong. If you feel the need to help find a cure after this sad news, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is very good.

  31. steel5692 says: Nov 16, 2011 7:49 PM

    Also support Stem Cell Research!

  32. surly1n1nd1anapol1s says: Nov 16, 2011 7:53 PM

    Correlation but maybe not causation? At the very least blows to the head do not diminish the risk of long term neurological disease.

    Of course there are morons in the world who suck on cigs and deny that cancer can follow. I suspect quite a few of such folks posting on this blog.

  33. bozosforall says: Nov 16, 2011 8:01 PM

    Still smarter than the average Packers fan.

  34. bozosforall says: Nov 16, 2011 8:03 PM

    nesportsfan0428 says:
    Nov 16, 2011 4:49 PM
    I love the people on here using the internet to tough-talk an old man.

    Stop giving the internet a bad name.

    __
    You mean like Pats fans all tough-talked Don Shula, Mercury Morris and the rest of the ’72 Dolphins? Get over yourself, idiot Pats fan.

  35. toolkien says: Nov 16, 2011 9:27 PM

    I suspect the reason for an increase in brain related problems in retired players in their 70′s is due to that they’re not dying of heart attacks in their late 50′s, early 60′s anymore.

    Forrest Gregg was dirty, but mostly against the Bears, and he felt that they deserved payback for their dirty play in the 50′s and 60′s against the Pack. Don’t agree that two wrongs make a right, and I wish he had spent more time actually trying to find talent for the team instead of worrying about paying back the Bears. It just looked bad as not a lot of people remembered those days so it just looked spiteful that the Bears were Super Bowl caliber and his own team stunk.

  36. axespray says: Nov 16, 2011 11:53 PM

    nice to see some real classy individuals on here…

    dude has parkinsons and you’re using the topic to spite Packer fans or rip on an old man…

    give yourselfs a round of applause, freaking kids these days…

  37. donterrelli says: Nov 17, 2011 12:05 AM

    Of course, so his family can sue the NFLPA for money.

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