June 30, 2009
Clemson, SC – Former Clemson All-American William Perry is recovering from a long battle with Guillain Barre Syndrome and CIDP, a product of the disease that affects the nervous system. But the recovery process is a long one and Perry continues to undergo rehabilitation at a center in Charlotte, which is the home city of his brother, Michael Dean Perry.
Perry was an All-American at Clemson from 1981-84. He helped the Tigers to the National Championship his freshman year (1981) and the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl Championship after the 1985 season. He was a three-time All-American at Clemson, then played in the NFL through the 1993 season.
Perry began having symptoms consistent with Guillain Barre Syndrome over the last year and was taken to a hospital in Aiken, SC in March. After six weeks in the facility, Perry needed to be transferred to a rehabilitation center to continue therapy, but he didn’t have the money or the insurance to pay for it. Perry lost more than 150 pounds and needed therapy to help with his motor skills, including speech and hearing.
In February, Mike Ditka, Perry’s former coach with the Chicago Bears, became significantly involved through the Gridiron Greats, an organization that helps former NFL players in need of medical assistance. Ditka and Ken Valdiserri, the Bears Public relations director when Perry was a member of the Bears, worked hard to help Perry get into the facility in Charlotte at Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte free of charge.
Perry is making progress through the help of his brother Michael Dean, the former Clemson All-American who played with his brother on the same Clemson defensive line in 1984. Michael Dean and his sister Patsy go through the rehabilitation process with William to give him encouragement.
Michael Dean established a website (William Perry the opportunity to contribute to a fund that will reduce his medical expenses.
“William feels very indebted to Mike Ditka, Ken Valdiserri, his family, his Clemson family, his fans and everyone who have tried to step up and assist,” said Michael Dean Perry. “He is very appreciative. He’s taking baby steps, but he’s getting better each and every day.”
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