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Former Chicago Bear William "Refrigerator" Perry recovering slowly from Guillain-Barre syndrome

Famed Chicago Bear defensive lineman William "The Fridge" Perry, best known for his touchdown scoring skills during the 1985 Chicago Bear Super Bowl winning season, is gradually improving since his diagnosis in 2008 with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Fan favorite Perry, 47, shocked many last year when he appeared at an autograph sessions 150 pounds lighter and in a wheelchair.

Michael Dean Perry, the Fridge's brother and also an NFL player, said his brother has suffered some hearing loss but has regained back much of his weight. Perry, at his peak, weighed in at 382 pounds.  Despite his size, The Fridge was very agile and strong, amazing fans with his ability to jump up onto a high bench.  Perry, who was hospitalized for approximately five months, has been undergoing rehabilitation.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare chronic disorder where the body's immune system attacks the neurological system. Initial systems of the disorder include weakness and tingling in the lower body, feeling "pins and needles" in toes and fingers, and weakness and loss of strength. As the disease progresses, these feelings may lead to paralysis.

Experts have not discovered the causes of this horrible disorder, which can progress with devastating results quickly. There does seem to be some correlation with a prior infection of the lungs or digestive tract; in roughly 60% of the cases, this infection immediately precedes the disorder.

One of the most severe and life threatening complications of Guillain-Barre is the possible paralysis of the respiratory muscles, causing one to not be able to breath. Most should recover from the syndrome with minor residual effects; about 10% experience major long term complications, including recurring relapses of the disorder.

There is no cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome, but there are treatments that can help manage symptoms and one's condition.

William "The Fridge" Perry scores a touchdown during Super Bowl XX.


  • April - Salt Lake City Wellness/Cat Examiner 5 years ago

    Sounds similar to MS

  • Nancy Z-Grand Rapids Health Examiner 5 years ago

    Hadn't heard Perry had this. Nice to know he is improving.

  • Toni 5 years ago

    I had Guillain-Barre syndrome when I was 15 - it was so fast and we had no idea what was happening. I basically woke up with jelly legs and my eyes were cross eyed... I nearly lost the ability to breathe, but after a plasma infusion from a donor, I recovered after two weeks in the intensive care unit. Crazy stuff!

  • Taylor Rios 5 years ago

    I had heard of this disease, but didn't know what it was

  • Winona Cooking Examiner 5 years ago

    Never heard of this disease before your knowing article.

  • Winona Home & Living 5 years ago

    This is a terrible condition and has to be hard for anyone. An ex-football player has to be even harder. Since he was used to being so active and strong to play.

  • Steph 5 years ago

    My husband is suffering from this desease right now as we speak. He is 44 years old and was 230lbs of muscle. Active duty military, personal trainer and healthy as a horse. This disease took him down in two days. He ended up on a ventilator for 4 months and just started breathing on his own 3 weeks ago. He still can't walk or do anything but is making some improvements. This disease is so scary.

  • Dianne 5 years ago

    Have been researching this for a friend who has it and found out good quality Colostrum and cod liver oil are supposed to help. He began taking it about two or three months ago when he was really going downhill (he'd had it over a year at that point) and he has been showing slow but steady improvement since. Google it.

  • maria 4 years ago

    i had it when i was 16 ...just got over it emotionally crazy experience

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