In an unfortunate turn of events, 49ers great, Dwight Clark, has announced that he has Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS).

I have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease… Those words are still very hard for me to say.

It is truly a sad moment for fans in the Bay Area and football fans everywhere because of Clark’s impact on the game. There is no known cure for the disease, and it continues to be affecting players much like the former 49ers wideout in the waning years of the players’ lives in retirement. Luckily, he’s shown a sign of optimism during all of this, as he later writes,

The one piece of good news is that the disease seems to be progressing more slowly than in some patients… Every single one of my 49ers teammates that has contacted me has said whatever I need, anytime I need it, they will help. That’s just the kind of guys they are. They were so giving as players and now they are the same as friends.

What Clark means to the 49ers and the NFL

Anyone that is a fan of football knows that the former wideout was a major part in sparking the 49ers’ dynasty in the 80’s. His most notable play of his career in the infamous game-winning play in the 1982 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys known simply as, The Catch. It remains one of the greatest moments in NFL history and easily the most famous play for the 49ers’ franchise.

His greatness is synonymous with that play. However, his career found more success than just that one moment. He was a two-time pro bowler and was named an all-pro in the 1982 season. He was a part of the franchise’s first two Super Bowl victories and enjoyed a productive nine seasons with the San Francisco team.

It’s a hard time for 49ers fans everywhere. The franchise wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for Dwight Clark. The only thing that fans of the 49ers and the NFL can do now is praying for him and give him all of the support he needs.