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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Science mourns Hawking as baseball remembers Lou Gehrig

Por MRod

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease (MND), and Lou Gehrig's disease, is a specific disease which causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles. It is also a de condition that ended with the life of the renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, who passed away on March 13, 2018. The world mourns today.

Lou Gehrig is a baseball legend who held the record for most games played in the major leagues consecutively and was part of a historic generation of the sport. He is a Hall of Famer and won six World Series titles in 17 years of MLB career, all with the New York Yankees. He produced 1,995 runs (sixth of all time), had a very high batting average of .340 and participated in seven All-Star Games. But his 2 thousand 130 games played in an uninterrupted way gave him the nickname of "iron horse". Part of his legacy is that this nickname is given to athletes who never leave the field.

That absolute mark of the Major Leagues could be greater, but it was slowed down by a strange suffering that diminished its physique, which is known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and also as motor neurone disease (MND), a neuromuscular degenerative disease, by which the motor neurons gradually diminish their functioning, which causes progressive muscle paralysis. ALS causes immobility of the body, although cognitive functions remain intact. That is to say, the patient is aware that every day he loses mobility, which makes him, even today, a terribly distressing disease for those who suffer from it and his close relatives. Stephen Hawking, news today, and Lou Gehrig died from the same evil.

Gehrig, knowing of his suffering, decided to retire from the Major Leagues and stop his record of games played. On April 30, 1939 he played for the last time; two days later, for the first time since May 31, 1925, the Yankees presented their roster for the first time without the name of their captain. On June 19, he was diagnosed with ALS. Days later, curiously on July 4, he said goodbye to Yankees fans with an emotional and memorable speech in which he said he was "the most fortunate man on the face of the Earth." The number 4 of the Yankees was retired, an unprecedented fact then. Gehrig died on June 2, 1941. His record was surpassed in 1995 by Cal Ripken Jr., who in the end reached 2 thousand 632 consecutive games. Gehrig's example led to more in-depth studies in this disease.

In 2014, the "ice bucket challenge" became viral, a challenge for which a person received a bucket of water with ice, to simulate the condition in which they live with ALS, raise awareness about this evil and raise funds for their research. Athletes such as basketball player LeBron James, F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo and Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, among many others, participated in it. The Hawking case is atypical and considered a medical miracle. The famous scientist was diagnosed at age 21, in 1963, but he lived with it until tonight, that is, for 55 years.