Select Page
Home > Understanding ALS > Lou Gehrig and the History of ALS

Lou Gehrig and the History of ALS

ALS was identified as a disease in 1869s, but it wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought both national and international attention to ALS.

Bringing ALS Awareness to the International Stage

ALS was identified as a specific disease by Jean Martin Charcot, a pioneering French neurologist working in Paris in 1869s, and thus is still sometimes called Charcot’s disease in France.

It wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease. Lou Gehrig was a famous baseball player for the New York Yankees. He played in more consecutive baseball games than any other player, until his record was broken by Cal Ripken, Jr., in 1995.

Throughout his career, Gehrig was a symbol of indestructibility — the “iron man” of baseball. On May 2, 1939, he pulled himself out of the lineup of players “for the good of the team.” He was not playing well and knew that something was physically wrong. Within a few months, Gehrig was diagnosed with ALS. He died two years later. To this day, the disease is still most closely associated with his name, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

Relatively little progress was made in understanding ALS until the 1990s, when there were major research efforts with encouraging results.

Lou Gehrig Day

In 2021, MLB announced that June 2 would be an annual celebration of Lou Gehrig Day to honor Lou Gehrig’s legacy and raise awareness to ALS and funds for research.

This year marks the 3rd Annual Lou Gehrig Day. Both the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros will celebrate Lou Gehrig Day at their home games on June 2. Keep an eye out for ticket information coming soon!

We are #OneTeam4ALS and we will not stop until we find a cure!

Find Local Services

At ALS Texas, we're here to help you and your family stay one step ahead of the disease through support groups, equipment loans, ALS clinics, and more.