49ers great Dwight Clark from 'The Catch' announces he has ALS

Dwight Clark

Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver and two-time Super Bowl champion Dwight Clark revealed on his blog on Sunday that he has ALS, a nervous system disease that weakens the muscles and can not be cured.

"Those words are still very hard for me to say", Clark wrote.

While Clark said the disease "seems to be progressing more slowly than in some patients", it is already showing its effects on him.

Clark won two Super Bowls with the 49ers during a nine-year career that ended in 1987.

A two-time Super Bowl victor as a member of the 49ers, San Francisco went on to retire Clark's No. 87 for his contributions.

Clark made one of the most memorable plays in National Football League history when he leaped in the back corner of the endzone to catch a 6-yard touchdown pass from Joe Montana in the final minute of the 1981 NFC championship game against the Dallas Cowboys to give the 49ers a 28-27 victory to advance to Super Bowl XVI. "The Catch" as it is called, was made when Joe Montana threw a prayer in the 1981 NFC championship game to none other than Dwight Clark. "Picking up anything over 30 pounds is a chore".

Further testing revealed he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable neuromuscular disease that impairs the muscles needed move, speak, eat and breathe. "We will stand alongside Dwight and his family as they wage this battle".

Discovered in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, ALS is a degenerative disease that impairs nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Your support over the last 35 years has allowed me to remain connected to you.

Montana told The Mercury News he is "saddened" by Clark's diagnosis.

Clark wrote that his former teammates had lined up in his corner since learning of his diagnosis. "We vow to do everything in our power to support Dwight and Kelly and help them fight this frightful disease". "My brother, Jeff, his wife, Debra and their family also have been unwavering with their love and support". "Rarely does a day go by when I'm not asked about 'the Catch, ' when we were able to get past the Cowboys and go on to win our first Super Bowl".

The Catch is closing in on 40 years but you'll always see clips of it come playoff time.

"Right now, I've got work to do", he wrote.

The 49ers legend finished by writing, "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".



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