Lou Gehrig, the baseball legend, may have died of the disease that carries his name, or of a condition that is remarkably similar, claims a new study.
Scientists examined 12 athletes who had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and found that three of them had symptoms that looked like those of Lou Gehrig's disease, amyotophic lateral sclerosis.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is an incurable disease that kills by destroying the nervous system.
The patient slowly loses the ability to control his or her muscle movement, eventually becoming completely paralyzed.
Researchers at Boston University discovered that three athletes had symptoms that looked like those of ALS. CTE, however, develops after a patient sustains multiple head injuries.
ALS symptoms are seen in athletes exposed to intense physical games, causing trauma to the head, and to the brain.
"What we're looking at is a brand new disease, another motor neuron disease that seems to be associated with head trauma," ABC News quoted Dr. Robert Stern as saying.
The study authors are calling the newly identified condition chronic traumatic encephalomyopathy (CTEM), and said it is "likely" caused by repeated head injuries.