Adam D. Falchook, MD
Requests for Single Reprints: Adam D. Falchook, MD, University of Florida, Medical Plaza Clinic, PO Box 100236, Gainesville, FL 32610; e-mail, email@example.com.
Falchook AD. The Name of a Champion. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150:734. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-150-10-200905190-00015
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2009;150(10):734.
In my second year of medical school, I entered a neuroscience lecture one September day as the New York Yankees were heading into the World Series. A list of numbers on the chalkboard was arranged in 4 columns that we began to copy down without knowing why, as is often the tradition in medical school. Our professor entered the room, lowered the projector screen in front of the numbers, and turned on the image of a smiling face wearing a Yankees baseball cap. The face was quickly recognizable to some. His name was known to us all. Over the next hour, we heard the poignant story of a man whose name had become synonymous with one of the most devastating and feared neurologic illnesses, yet whose most well-known words are that he considers himself “the luckiest man on the face of this earth.” The numbers on the chalkboard were baseball statistics: batting averages, runs batted in, and home runs that spoke of a relentless motor neuron disease that decimated one man's strength but could not weaken the eyes, the mind, and the heart of an athlete. Even when he could no longer hit the ball out of the park, like all champions, he performed best when his team needed him and his batting averages and runs batted in remained higher when there were men on the bases. Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse, became one of the few patients who would give his name to his disease.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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