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.