CHICAGO — Former Chicago Bears defensive star Steve McMichael accepted an ALS Courage Award on Saturday at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
McMichael, 63, a lineman for the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl champions who later competed as a professional wrestler, revealed in April that he has been diagnosed with ALS.
“Mongo” is paralyzed from the shoulders down as he battles amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The disease, named for the New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame first baseman, affects the nervous system, weakens muscles and impacts physical movements.
On Saturday, McMichael accepted the award with his wife, Misty, by his side, the Chicago Tribune reported. The couple wore matching black shirts that read “Me Mongo” and “Mrs. Mongo,” respectively, according to the newspaper.
The award was part of the 20th-anniversary ceremonies for the Les Turner ALS Foundation’s Walk for Life, WLS reported. The event is Chicago’s largest gathering for people living with ALS, the television station reported.
McMichael’s former teammate, Keith Van Horn, presented the award, the Tribune reported.
“I never thought that I could admire the man more than I already did,” Van Horn said during the presentation. “But watching him, how he carries himself dealing with this toughest opponent that he’s ever had to face, he’s done it with grace and humor.”
McMichael, who had a rough-and-tumble career in pro football and professional wrestling, showed some of that humor at the stadium where he enjoyed some of his greatest moments.
“It was these guys around me up here that taught me courage because going out and partying with them, I knew I was going to have that courage to survive it,” McMichael told reporters. “So they already taught me how to deal with ALS.”
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