Health See Inside Controversy: Can Repeat Concussions Cause Lou Gehrig's Disease? Football players diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease may suffer from the effect of repeated blows to the head, controversial new research says By Jeffrey Bartholet Scott Cunningham/Getty Images Kevin Turner was a premier athlete in the National Football League, a fullback who could run, catch and block. At 6' 1" and roughly 230 pounds, he was slightly undersized for his position, but he had tremendous thrust in his legs and used all of it to launch himself into players who were bigger than he was. He played for the New England Patriots from 1992 to 1994, then joined the Philadelphia Eagles, with whom he stayed until his abrupt retirement in 1999. Some called him “the Collision Expert”—a nickname he got because of the gouges he collected on his helmet. Now Turner can’t button his shirt. When we met recently at a California Pizza Kitchen in Birmingham, Ala., the first sign of physical impairment came when he put his small backpack into the booth where he would be sitting. His arm was Frankenstein-straight, and his shoulder was stiff as he swung the pack away from his body. Other issues soon became apparent. His fingers were curled up and his thumbs almost useless, so he drank from a glass by holding it in his palms. After he had trouble removing the little paper ring from his napkin, he took a furtive glance at the nearby tables before ducking his head down to rip it off with his teeth. This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now! Select an option below: Buy Digital Issue Customer Sign In *You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com. Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access. ADVERTISEMENT Scientific American is a trademark of Scientific American, Inc., used with permission © 2015 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.