Viewers who watch the father of rugby star Rob Burrow, who suffers from motor neuron disease (MND), in a moving BBC 2 documentary say that one of the hardest things is to tell his father about the effects of the disease on to see his son speak ever seen. & # 39;
My Year With MND, presented by Sally Nugent, aired Tuesday night and included interviews with Burrow, his wife Lindsey, parents and former teammates.
The rugby legend, a Scrum half who also represented the UK, has seen a rapid deterioration in his health in recent months – including weight loss and poor speech.
In a heartbreaking interview with his parents Geoff and Irene, both wonder how much rugby added to his shock diagnosis last December.
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British and Leeds rhino star Rob Burrow, who appeared on the BBC2 documentary on Tuesday, discussed his rapid physical decline since being diagnosed with MND in December 2019
Burrow envisioned his wife helping Lindsey during the documentary. He's now using an app on his phone to better communicate with his family
Viewers said they cried during the interviews with Burrow's parents; His father Geoff said, "You think five to ten percent can be inherited, so look back at your family and on both sides no … is it our fault he played?"
Burrow's father Geoff burst into tears as he talked about the pride he has in his son, how he battles the disease. Right: His mother Irene admitted that she blamed rugby for Burrow's illness
In the 30-minute documentary, Burrow's parents pushed him into his wheelchair on a family day
Burrow's father said nothing could have prepared her son to deal with MND
His father breaks off proud of how Burrow is dealing with the disease and says he was asked, "Is it our fault he played rugby?" while his mother admits she "blames" the sport, saying that she couldn't see something she had previously loved for a while after learning of her son's illness.
Burrow's father said, "You assume that five to ten percent (of those diagnosed) can be inherited, so you look back on your family … and on both sides, no … it's our fault he played Has?"
His mother added, "I couldn't see rugby, I've always loved rugby, but I blamed it – is it all he had?"
On social media, thousands of people praised Burrow for the documentary, saying the interviews with his mother and father left them in tears.
@ RubbishNo3 wrote, "Watching the clip of Rob Burrow's wife and father is one of the hardest things I've ever seen. Count your blessings folks."
@ PeterDu23019510 wrote: & # 39; What an inspiration this guy and his family are. Your positivity shines through. Can't stop crying. & # 39;
@ rick_wills85 added, "One of the hardest things I've ever had to see! @ Rob7Burrow what an inspiration! As a father, I can't imagine what's on his mind – it takes a special kind of person to be so positive and being able to be supportive! "
Burrow plays during a testimonial for Leeds Rhinos in January 2020, pictured with children Macy on far left, Jackson in middle and Maya on far right at Emerald Headingley Stadium in Yorkshire
The documentary shows Burrow's deterioration since his diagnosis, including weight loss and poor speech. Former Leeds Rhino hooker says MND can't destroy his mind.
The 30-minute program follows Burrow's advances through the pandemic and shows how MND has dramatically affected life with his 20-year-old wife Lyndsey and their three young children Macy (nine), Maya (five) and Jackson (two).
In the emotional program that airs tonight, 38-year-old Burrow describes how MND took over his body, saying, "It comes for your voice first, then for your legs."
He adds that although his body is weakened by the disease, a degenerative disease that affects the functioning of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, it does not "pollute" his mind and say, "My mind is so strong and positive" .
Lindsey is Burrow's wife of 20 years and the mother of three young children. In the 30-minute documentary, she says that she is now her husband's carer
Fans have raised nearly £ 350,000 to ensure Rob, Lindsey and their family will continue to be safe
Often the smallest man on the court but escaped much larger opponents during his 17 seasons with Leeds Rhino, Burrow was first diagnosed after struggling with his language last year and doctors initially put his blurriness on a viral infection back.
At the time, he said, "I was expecting to get medicine and get on with life."
Burrow believes the first warning sign was there last September when his former captain Kevin Sinfield approached him at the end of the season's Rhinos awards night. "I got the Academy Player of the Year award and came on stage. The word I struggled with was" consistency ".
Burrow is now in full-time care and is enjoying a day out in Yorkshire this summer with his two youngest children, Jackson (left) and Maya
& # 39; Kev came up and said, "Are you okay? Have you been drinking?" I said, "No, what are you about?" I hadn't even realized then that I'd blurred the word. & # 39;
It was a similar story two months later when Burrow moved. & # 39; The word I couldn't say back then was & # 39; Lawyer & # 39 ;. At the time, I thought something was wrong, but I thought it might just be stress or fear of moving, or long-term use of pain relievers on my shoulder injury. & # 39;
Motor Neuron Disease (ALS): No known cure and half of those affected only live three years after diagnosis
There is no cure for MND and the disease is fatal, however the disease progresses at different rates in patients.
People with MND are expected to live two to five years after symptoms first appear, although 10 percent of those with MND live at least 10 years.
The NHS describes motor neuron disease (MND) as follows: “An unusual condition that affects the brain and nerves. It causes weakness that gets worse over time. & # 39;
The weakness is caused by the deterioration of motor neurons, upper motor neurons that travel from the brain to the spinal cord, and lower motor neurons that spread to the face, neck, and limbs.
It was first discovered by a French neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, in 1865, which is why MND is sometimes known as Charcot's disease.
In the UK, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is referred to as motor neuron disease, while in the US, ALS is referred to as a specific subgroup of MND, which is defined as a group of neurological disorders.
According to Oxford University Hospitals, "Almost 90 percent of patients with MND have the mixed form of ALS, so the terms MND and ALS often mean the same thing."
Weakness in the ankle or leg, which may include stumbling or difficulty climbing stairs, and a weakness in the ability to grip things.
Blurred speech is an early symptom and can later worsen to include difficulty swallowing food.
Muscle spasms or twitching are a symptom, as is weight loss due to the thinning of the leg and arm muscles over time.
MND is difficult to diagnose at an early stage because different conditions can cause similar symptoms. Also, no test is used to determine the presence.
However, the disease is usually diagnosed through an elimination process, which excludes diseases that have symptoms similar to ALS.
The NHS says MND is an "unusual condition" that affects the elderly in particular. However, it should be noted that it can affect adults of all ages.
The NHS says that as of now "it is not known why" the disease occurs. The ALS Association says that MND "occurs without racial, ethnic, or socio-economic boundaries and can affect anyone" around the world.
It is said that war veterans are twice as likely to get ALS and that men are 20 percent more likely to get ALS.
Lou Gehrig was one of the standout baseball stars when he played for the Yankees between 1923 and 1939. Known as "The Iron Horse," he played 2,130 consecutive games before ALS forced him to retire. The record was broken by Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995
Lou Gehrig's disease
In addition to being known as ALS and Charcot's disease, MND is also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Lou Gehrig was an extremely popular baseball player who played for the New York Yankees between 1923 and 1939.
He was famous for his strength and was called "The Iron Horse".
His strength, popularity, and fame went beyond baseball, and the state adopted the athlete's name.
He died two years after his diagnosis.
He started doing his own research and reading about MND. After the club took him to the hospital for testing, the eight-time Super League winner was ordered by his doctor to ignore his self-diagnosis.
& # 39; The doctor said, "Why are you saying that? We're not testing for it." They thought I might have something called myasthenia gravis that can be treated. Then I got my MRI scan back which was fine so I thought I was home and dry. I thought it could be something like an infection. & # 39;
Burrow retired from the game in 2017 and had only coached two years when he was diagnosed with the disease
Just before Christmas last year, he and Lindsey gathered their three children – Macy, then eight, Maya, then four, and then one-year-old Jackson – at home to tell them the news. "The kids were running around and we had to say," Sit down, we want to tell you something. "
“We said casually to them,“ Dad is bad. ”We didn't mention what it was, except that there was no cure.
"And Maya just said," What are you telling us this for? This is boring. "That was just perfect. I thought it was the hardest thing to tell you, but when Maya said that, the mood got lighter."
Fans have raised nearly £ 350,000 to ensure Rob, Lindsey and their family have future safety since half of the scrum revealed he had the disease.
Donations can be made here: www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/robburrow
Rob Burrow: My year with MND is available on IPlayer
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