Podcast: 49ers/Eagles NFC Championship Preview →
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


49ers legend Dwight Clark has support of family, friends, and fans during battle with ALS

Mar 20, 2017 at 10:21 AM0


The San Francisco 49ers family, which includes those currently within the organization, those who once played for the organization, and the fans worldwide, are still in shock over Dwight Clark's announcement on Sunday. "After months of tests and treatment, I got some bad news," the 49er legend said via a statement. "I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. I have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Those words are still very hard for me to say.

"While I'm still trying to wrap my head around the challenge I will face with this disease over the coming years, the only thing I know is that I'm going to fight like hell and live every day to the fullest."

Clark means a lot to the 49ers organization. He is the man who helped catapult the franchise into relevance on January 10, 1982. "The Catch" is iconic and a play in 49ers history that will forever be remembered by the fans who witnessed it and pass on those memories to future generations. At games, his jersey is proudly worn just like other 49ers legends such as Montana, Rice, or Lott.

"I've got to devote all my energy preparing for this battle and I would hope you can respect my family's privacy as I begin this challenge," Clark wrote. "My ultimate hope is that eventually I can assist in finding a cure for ALS, which disrupts the lives of so many and their loved ones."

While the disease may be incurable, that doesn't mean that there aren't ways to help. There is the ALS Association, to which you can donate. "Established in 1985, The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease on every front," explains its official website.

"Clark becomes at least the sixth former player in the past 10 years to be diagnosed with this incurable disease that gradually shuts down every muscle in the body," writes Peter King of TheMMQB.

"I've been asked if playing football caused this," Clark wrote. "I don't know for sure. But I certainly suspect it did. And I encourage the NFLPA and the NFL to continue working together in their efforts to make the game of football safer, especially as it relates to head trauma."

George Rose-Getty Images


Of course, thoughts and prayers are going out to Clark from his family, friends, and fans. He also has the support of former teammates.

"Dwight Clark is one of those guys that lights up the room – always smiling and making you feel great. When I heard the news, I like others in the 49er family, was devastated. DC changed the course of the 49ers with the catch. Don't be surprised if he changes the course of this disease as well. Love you brother!"
- Harris Barton

"Dwight is like a brother to me. This news crushed me. I've vowed to him to be here for whatever he needs from me. Whenever or wherever. He deserves all our heartfelt support."
- Roger Craig

"There is nothing tougher than watching a great friend go through a serious health challenge. Dwight is handling this adversity with uncommon strength and the heart of a courageous champion, and our family's thoughts and prayers are constantly with Dwight and Kelly. I know that they are fully aware that we will continue to walk alongside them, and do anything and everything possible to help them through this tough time."
- Brent Jones

"To live with another of my best friends struggling with a disease like ALS is devastating. I'm asking all of us to not only send their prayers but I'm asking you to do whatever you can to fight this disease. Dwight will be a champion, which he has been able to show since I met him, since the first time he's hugged me and to this day moving forward."
- Ronnie Lott

"Jennifer and I are saddened by the diagnosis of Dwight. This is a difficult time for Dwight, Kelly and all of us who love him. He is family, and in our continual thoughts and prayers. We hope the public will be cognizant of Dwight's desire for privacy."
- Joe Montana

"DC has done so much for me as a player and friend. My rookie year he showed me how to run that out route! We know him for the catch but he's a great individual who cares about people. Please pray for him Faithful through this adversity!!! I love the guy!!!!"
- Jerry Rice

"We are here for Dwight. We are teammates for life and we will not allow him to go through this challenge alone. I am proud of the courageous way he is approaching this challenge. I will be here for him and with him. "
- Keena Turner

Former owner Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. also promised his support to his former player, who, like many others who played for the 49ers, DeBartolo sees as family.

"Dwight has been an integral part of my family's life for almost four decades. We are absolutely devastated. We vow to do everything in our power to support Dwight and Kelly and help them fight this horrible disease."
- Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

Even current 49ers CEO Jed York issued a statement following news of Clark's announcement.

"I was deeply saddened to learn of Dwight's recent diagnosis. As a member of our family, he will receive the full and unconditional support of the San Francisco 49ers. Many know Dwight as an iconic figure in 49ers lore, whose accomplishments on the field brought joy to fans around the world. Our organization is fortunate to know him more intimately as a wonderful man who has given so much of himself as an ambassador to the entire Bay Area. We will stand alongside Dwight and his family as they wage this battle."
- Jed York

One thing is certain: the legendary receiver won't be alone during his battle with ALS. Having recently lost a loved one to a destructive disease, I know how much the support from family and friends will help not only Clark during this difficult time, but those who care about him.

"Let's not sugarcoat this," said Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area on 95.7 The Game while discussing Clark. "[ALS] is an absolute battle and I can't think of anybody more prepared and more equipped to handle that battle with grace and dignity and with a fighting spirit than Dwight Clark."

You can read Clark's entire announcement letter here on Eddie DeBartolo, Jr.'s official website.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Battle over before it starts? Insider believes 49ers have decided on Brock Purdy as QB of the future

By David Bonilla
Jan 21

The San Francisco 49ers invested a lot to acquire quarterback Trey Lance. The team is unlikely to admit any wrongdoing there. Not yet, at least. That's not to say that Lance can't develop into a competent starter for the Bay Area squad. The team obviously believes that to be possible, having decided he was the Week 1 starter early last offseason. Circumstances have changed, though. Brock Purdy has taken the NFL by storm, surprising even those who drafted him with the No. 262 overall pick. Lance went down in Week 2, elevating Jimmy Garoppolo into the starting role. That lasted until Week 13 when Garoppolo went down with a broken foot. Enter Brock Purdy and the birth of a continuously accelerating hype train. Some expected the rookie



Fred Warner, Nick Bosa expect 49ers-Eagles to be 'a battle'

By David Bonilla
Jan 25

The San Francisco 49ers know Sunday might be the toughest test of the season. The team will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field. A win means returning to the Super Bowl for the second time in four years. "I expect it to be a battle all the way through," linebacker Fred Warner told reporters on Wednesday. "Both the Cowboys and Eagles are physical and talented teams who are really fast and have a lot of talent. Just like it was a battle this past week (against Dallas), I'm expecting that, if not more, this week, them being in their home stadium, home crowd behind them. They're going to be juiced up, ready to go." The 49ers finished the season with the top-ranked defense. The Eagles defense wasn't far behind. San



Podcast: Battle For The NFC Throne: 49ers vs. Eagles

By Rohan Chakravarthi
23 hrs

Rohan Chakravarthi and Marco Martinez preview the 49ers vs Eagles game with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line on the latest episode of "The Rohan Chakravarthi Show". The audio for the show is embedded above, while the video is available below. You can listen to the Rohan Chakravarthi Show from our



Divisional Round playoff predictions: Fans confident 49ers and Chiefs win

By Site Staff
Jan 21

The San Francisco 49ers are set to host the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday, January 22, at 3:30 p.m. PT in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Each week, the 49ers Webzone staff predicts the winner within its annual NFL Pick 'em contest. That includes writers and forum moderators. This week, all six participating staff members selected the 49ers to beat the Cowboys. San Francisco is currently a four-point favorite. As for all the fans taking part in our NFL Pick 'em contest, 92 percent have the 49ers winning the game,


Featured

More by David Bonilla

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone