(Photo from Vanderbilt University)

Former St. Mark’s School of Texas football standout and Vanderbilt University professor emeritus John Vrooman died July 5 from ALS. Vrooman was 73.

St. Mark’s recruited Vrooman from a public school, and he played football alongside actor Tommy Lee Jones, Vanderbilt University reported.

“He was forever grateful for the opportunity to attend an elite high school,” the obituary states.

Vrooman graduated in 1964 and went on to play at Kansas State University.

He taught one of the most popular classes at Vanderbilt, sports economics, and updated his Sport Econ Blog with detailed analyses until June.

Here he is writing about his ALS diagnosis.

As a football player, I suffered more than my share of concussions and recurring blows to my head and neck but this was back in the day before anyone kept track of cumulative brain damage through current symptom-treating concussion protocols. (Insert dumb-jock joke here). The average life expectancy with ALS is only 3 years after diagnosis, but twenty percent of people with ALS live five or more years, and 10 percent survive at least ten years. Most people who develop ALS are between ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55. ALS strikes only one in 50,000 people (insert 0.002% lottery joke here), and while it is more common among white Anglo males who were former athletes or who served in the military, there is still no known cause or unique diagnosis for Lou Gehrig’s Disease.


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