Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Soccer: Symbol of Lou Gehrig's fight Borgonovo dies

English
© ANSA

Rome, June 28 - The flag-bearer in Italian soccer's
campaign to explain the high rate of Lou Gehrig's Disease among
former players, ex-Fiorentina and AC Milan striker Stefano
Borgonovo, died of the incurable nerve-wasting condition at 49
Thursday.
"Ciao Stefano, hero", tweeted former Fiorentina teammate and
Italy great Roberto Baggio while the Azzurri's current star, AC
Milan striker Mario Balotelli, tweeted "Your strength was a life
lesson" and ex-Juventus and Italy forward Alessandro Del Piero
called Borgonovo on his Web site "a great fighter who loved
soccer and life".
The Lou Gehrig death rate among ex-players in Italy is 12
times that of the general population.
Top anti-doping prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello has been
probing more than 40 deaths for 10 years.
Doping, other performance enhancers, repetitive head trauma
and pitch fertilizers have been touted as possible causes but
scientists have yet to pin down the origin of the disease, which
in Britain is called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a form
of Motor Neurone Disease.
Borgonovo went public with his condition in 2008 and
re-energised efforts to solve the riddle, despite never blaming
his playing days for it.
"I want to find the new penicillin," he insisted.
An all-star charity match between his two former clubs,
Fiorentina and Milan, helped set up a charity in Borgonovo's
name which established a research foundation with funding from
the Italian soccer federation.
ALS is known as Lou Gehrig's Disease after the US baseball
legend who was the first sports star to die of it, aged 37, in
1941.
The first well-known Italian soccer player to die of ALS was
ex-Genoa captain Gianluca Signorini, who died in 2002 aged 42.
Ex-Chelsea boss and player Gianluca Vialli, a former striker
for Italy, Sampdoria and Juventus, has his own ALS foundation
with former Juventus and Napoli midfielder Massimo Mauro, now a
Sky Italy commentator.

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