Baseball To Highlight ALS on 70th Anniversary of Lou Gehrig Speech

Baseball and Lou Gehrig Disease

On Saturday, July 4th it will be the 70th anniversary of the speech given by Lou Gehrig, the famous "Luckiest Man" speech. This year the his speech will be read during the 7th inning stretch by every baseball home team to help raise funds and awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Lou Gehrig died in 1941 at age 37 of the disease which would become known as Lou Gehrig Disease. The medical name is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

ALS is a rapidly progressive and always fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. Most people with ALS die from respiratory failure, usually within 3 to 5 years from the onset of symptoms. However, about 10 percent of ALS patients survive for 10 or more years.

ALS causes weakness with a wide range of disabilities. Eventually, all muscles under voluntary control are affected. Patients lose their strength and the ability to move their arms, legs, and body. When muscles in the diaphragm and chest wall fail, patients lose the ability to breathe without ventilatory support.


ALS does not usually impair a person's mind or intelligence, but patients may have problems with depression.

ALS does not affect a person's ability to see, smell, taste, hear, or recognize touch. Patients usually maintain control of eye muscles and bladder and bowel functions, although in the late stages of the disease most patients will need help getting to and from the bathroom.

It is estimated that 5,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. Right now, about 35,000 Americans are suffering from the disease. ALS is one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide. It affects people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. Most often it strikes people between 40 and 60 years of age, but younger and older people also can develop the disease. Men are affected more often than women.

For more information on the special baseball tribute:
Major League Baseball

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