Ex-49ers great Dwight Clark reveals ALS update

Legendary San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark who in March revealed he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), said in an interview Tuesday that he is “losing strength and lost 80 pounds.

Clark, who is remembered for his 1982 NFC Championship game heroics when he hauled in “The Catch” from quarterback Joe Montana, said he first began consulting with doctors earlier this year after experiencing weakness in his left hand.

 “But I’m still able to use my hands a little bit. Walk a little bit. But this stuff is no joke, man. They need to find a cure to this thing because it is torture. It’s just going through all the different phases. I wake up every morning and I take that first step to see if it’s going to work. And it’s ‘OK, still walking today,’” he told the ‘Murph & Mac’ radio show in San Francisco.

He thanked his wife for support during the illness and said he hopes it plateaus “before I get all the way to the end. Where I can’t move, and talk and all that.”

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. While symptoms vary in patients, many may experience muscle weakness and have trouble controlling speech, swallowing or motor skills. According to the ALS Association, some patients may live three to five years, while others may live up to 10 or more years. There currently is no cure.