"Many of them do feel that trauma was an initial event, and many of them have a significant history of head and neck trauma," she said. "They're relieved that someone is giving it a serious look."
"What both sides appear to attest -- that ALS is a clinical diagnosis which Lou Gehrig had, and that some patients diagnosed with ALS have a form of it caused by brain trauma that can have an additional name but remain under the ALS motor-neuron-disease umbrella -- can in fact coexist rather comfortably until everything is sorted out," said Alan Schwarz, the New York Times reporter who covered McKee's study. "If arms were dropped and messages were delivered more clearly and logically, they would find that they disagree much less than it looks."
While the cause of Lou Gehrig's disease is as unclear today at it was in 1939, one thing is certain: What he had was Lou Gehrig's disease, and no one else's.
"Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a mouthful," said Wolf. "Most people don't know what ALS is. If you call it Lou Gehrig's disease, it has a face, the face of one of the greatest baseball players ever."