Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Roughly 1 in 400 people will develop ALS in their lifetime. There are an estimated 30,000 people living with ALS in the U.S. at any given time. The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is the world’s most comprehensive drug discovery lab focused solely on ALS. By partnering with ALS TDI, the NFL Alumni Association provides our members with access to education and support while advancing critical research for effective treatments and cures for ALS.

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Motor Neuron Disease (MND), Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or Charcot’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. ALS attacks the cells in the brain and spinal cord. These motor neurons are needed to keep muscles moving. First symptoms can vary, but early signs may include muscle cramps, muscle twitching, weakness in hands, legs, feet, or ankles, or difficulty speaking and/or swallowing. ALS results in the wasting away of muscles, loss of movement, and eventual paralysis and death.

Anyone can get ALS, and ALS is not experienced the same way among all diagnosed. The manner and the speed at which the disease moves throughout a person’s body can vary greatly. Most people live about 3-5 years after experiencing their ALS symptoms, with one in ten people surviving for at least 10 years. There are currently no treatments to stop or reverse ALS progression, but researchers at ALS TDI and around the world are working to change that fact. 

Learn more about ALS.

Football and ALS

Research indicates that NFL players are four times more likely to develop ALS than the adult male population. Scientists at Boston University’s CTE Center conducted research indicating the higher incidence of ALS among professional football players, but they could not determine the cause of the higher rate. Scientists at The ALS Therapy Development Institute are working to find effective treatments for all diagnosed with ALS.

Sideline ALS

Help honor your friends and teammates diagnosed with ALS by taking the Sideline ALS pledge. By taking this pledge you will honor ALS patients while pledging to raise ALS awareness. You will not only be supporting current athletes with ALS but also helping to support research to find solutions and treatments for any future ALS patient.

Anyone can take the Sideline ALS pledge – coaches, players, referees, broadcasters, and family members.  After taking the Sideline ALS Pledge you can raise ALS awareness by posting on social media, asking more teammates to take the pledge, attending an ALS fundraiser, donating to ALS research, speaking with current ALS patients, or using your individual voice and talent in your own way to help fight ALS!


There are currently no effective cures for ALS or treatments to stop disease progression. There are currently only three treatments approved by the FDA in the United States. They are Riluzole (marketed as Rilutek or Tiglutik), edaravone (marketed as Radicava), and a combination of sodium phenylbutyrate and taurursodiol (marketed as Relyvrio). While none of these treatments have been shown to halt the progression of ALS, results have shown that they may help to slow progression for some. Scientists around the world are working hard to develop new therapies for this disease. Always consult with your doctor when considering any treatment.


Whether you are recently diagnosed with ALS or have a friend or a loved one with ALS, you are not alone. The ALS Therapy Development Institute can provide you with  resources, keep you up to date on research, and connect you with others in the ALS community. If you have questions about clinical trials or other questions you can contact Dr. Nadia Sethi- or reach out to ALS TDI.

ALS Informational Webinar

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