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August 24, 2020

Eric Stevens, the Firefighter and Former NFL Player Diagnosed with ALS is Expecting a Child

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The joyful news comes only a year after the soon-to-be father was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. In spite of that, the future parents are hopeful and happy about the new family member.

30-year-old former American football player Eric Stevens and his wife, 29-year-old second-grade teacher Amanda Stevens, recently took to Instagram to happily announce that they are both going to be parents in January 2021.

In the carousel of photos posted by Amanda, the couple appeared together looking at each other while she held a little baby jumper that read the date that baby Stevens is coming. Other snapshots showed Amanda’s lovely bump and the baby’s ultrasound image.

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Another picture showed the whole family including their dog, Duke wearing a bandana that read, “Big Brother." Next to the images, Amanda described their excitement and joy by captioning:

“SURPRISE!! Baby Stevens coming January 2021! We are so excited to meet you, little one!??”

UNEXPECTED DIAGNOSIS

Apart from playing for the University of California-Berkeley football team and having spent some time with the NFL's St. Louis Rams, Eric used to be a highly active man. He raced BMX bikes, played hockey, surfed, and fly-fished. So when he started to feel weaker last year he knew something was not right.

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At the time, he was working as a firefighter for the Los Angeles Fire Department and was about to get married to the love of his life. He waited until they came back from their honeymoon to take all the tests. The diagnosis from different doctors was identical: ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Eric and Amanda Stevens during an interview with FOX Sports West about his ALS diagnosis in March 2020. I Image: YouTube/ Fox Sports West.

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AFTER BEING DIAGNOSED

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a degenerative illness that progressively interrupts a person’s capacity to move muscles voluntarily. The disease which is commonly found between the ages of 40 and 70 has no cure yet and it is not possible to stop it. So when the couple found out about it, they were in shock.

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They began a quest for solutions and answers and discovered that there is a lot of bureaucracy behind the possibilities for an ALS-diagnosed person to be treated. After that, they started a campaign to channel a petition for Congress to speed up the procedures that will enable the access of ALS treatment to people in need.

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NFL & ALS

As Eric’s news emerged and he and Amanda worked to make safe treatments accessible, other news about former NFL players being diagnosed with the disease came to light. Currently, the total number of NFL players, alive or dead, diagnosed with ALS is unknown. 

Recent data says that about

56 players

have applied for compensation for ALS. Though there is nothing that links the disease with the sport, some researchers suggest that constant brain trauma as experienced in football may increase the risk of ALS.

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