Guillain-Barré syndrome: Learn about Danny Wuerffel's affliction

danny-wuerffel.jpgFormer Washington Redskins quarterback Danny Wuerffel has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, reports ABC News. The rare autoimmune disorder causes paralysis. Wuerffel was struck by a stomach virus at the beginning of June, and he later began to experience a loss of sensation in his legs. The athlete also complained of weakness in his arms.

Doctors believe that the Guillain-Barré syndrome caused Wuerffel's immune system to attack the nerves that aid motion.

"He's hanging in there," says his wife Jessica, with whom he has 3 young children. She says her husband has lost about half of his strength. "It's a distressing situation but, to be honest, his faith is strong."

Most people who experience Guillain-Barré are at their weakest point about two weeks to a month after they contract a virus. In severe cases, the loss of strength and motion can impact a person's lungs and digestive system, making ventilators and feeding tubes necessary. Wuerffel has been advised to remain immobile during his recovery.

Wuerffel's Christian charity group, Desire Street Ministries, is supporting him through his treatment.  "Physically, the whole diagnosis is going to take a toll. But his spirit and his faith are very much intact and strong," says Barry Snyder, the director of development for the organization. "We all go through physical struggles, and it's great to know that he's in God's hands while his body is not cooperating."
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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