Gale Sayers battling dementia, with a familiar refrain

Bears Hall-of Famer Gale Sayers battling dementia

Bears Hall-of Famer Gale Sayers battling dementia

"Like the doctor at the Mayo Clinic said, "Yes, a part of this has to be on football, ' " Sayers" wife Ardie said.

Family members believe his time playing college and professional football played a role in his dementia diagnosis.

His wife, Ardythe Sayers, tells The Kansas City Star that her 73-year-old husband was diagnosed four years ago and she blames Sayers' football career.

His wife described the vigilance required to care for Sayers now, noting that he recently tried washing his hands with carpet cleaner.

Family members have now made a decision to take care of him at home with outside professional assistance.

"Other people start making up stories, and people are asking about him more and more", she told the Star.

After an All-American career at Kansas, Gale played seven seasons in the National Football League with the Bears, though the injuries that eventually led to his early retirement limited him to five productive seasons. "It wasn't so much getting hit in the head".

Ardie Sayers told the Star she believes the dementia began as far back as 2009, but she said Gale remains fine physically. "Over time, the family came to realize people they trusted had taken advantage of him in various ways". The "Kansas Comet" played his entire career with the Bears, piling up 4,956 yards rushing in his 68-game career and was voted to four Pro Bowls. Sayers claimed he was sent back into games after concussions and said he had suffered headaches and short-term memory loss since his retirement. Sayers scored 22 touchdowns and 132 points in his first season, both then-rookie records. Although Sayers withdrew that suit, he joined in a suit with several other players filed the next year in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania.

Ardie Sayers says any financial settlement will go toward her husband's treatment.

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