Dwight Clark was a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers for nine seasons. He is best known for “The Catch” that came in the NFC Championship game of the 1981 season. Down by six and less than a minute left in the game, Clark leaped and caught a 6-yard pass from Joe Montana in the back of the end zone. The 49ers went on to win that game, and win Super Bowl XVI.
Now, 35 years later Clark has revealed that he has been diagnosed with ALS. He posted an open letter on DebartoloHoldings.com. In the letter Clark said, “After months of tests and treatment, I got some bad news. I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. I have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Those words are still very hard for me to say,” Clark wrote. “While I’m still trying to wrap my head around the challenge I will face with this disease over the coming years, the only thing I know is that I’m going to fight like hell and live every day to the fullest.”
Clark said he started feeling weakness in his left hand back in 2015, but he assumed the pain was “some kind of nerve damage because it would just come and go.” 49ers CEO Jed York released a statement saying, “I was deeply saddened to learn of Dwight’s recent diagnosis. As a member of our family, he will receive the full and unconditional support of the San Francisco 49ers.”
In San Francisco, Clark won two Super Bowls. After retiring in 1987, he went on to serve as general manger of the 49ers and the Cleveland Browns. The 49ers retired his No. 87 jersey 1988.