For more than a decade, John Elway dealt with Dupuytren’s contracture, a medical condition also known as “Viking’s disease” that progressively leads to hand disability.
Beginning 15 years ago, both of Elway’s ring fingers became constricted, and he had trouble straightening out his fingers.
Eventually, the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback lost the ability to pick up a football.
“For me, not to be able to pick up a football, that was an emergency,” Elway said Thursday morning on The TODAY Show.
Elway, who had previously declined a surgical procedure to fix the issue, found another possible remedy.
“I’d had enough surgeries when I was playing that I didn’t want another surgery,” Elway said. “Then a couple years ago, I found out that there was a treatment — a non-surgical treatment — and it’s been great the last couple of years.”
Elway underwent the procedure on both of his hands, and within three weeks, he was able to grip a football again.
He clarified, though, that this is a treatment — not a cure.
“[It’s] not necessarily a cure,” he said. “There’s a fix. Let’s put it that way.”
Elway said the condition can return but that the treatment can also be repeated.
“There is a chance that it can come back, but you can still get the treatment again, if it does come back,” Elway said. “But you just keep an eye on it.”
Elway, who said the treatment has “really been a relief,” now aims to spread information about the condition — and about the procedure that helped him.
“That’s what we’re excited about,” Elway said. “The thing is, this is as common [of a condition] as major depression. So not many people really know about it. I’m glad to be a part of the campaign to get the word out.”
Elway also discussed the Broncos’ upcoming season during the segment.
“I’m excited about it,” Elway said. “We’ve had two tough years. It’s always fun to be able to get to this point in time. We’d like to get through preseason healthy, but it’s also fun to be able to start the season and see what we have. You never know, and I’m excited about the team that we have and our new head coach, Vic Fangio, and Joe Flacco is our quarterback. We’ll see what happens.”
When one of the TODAY Show hosts jumped in to suggest that Flacco has been among the league’s most underrated quarterbacks, Elway agreed.
“He really has,” Elway said. “He’s been there, he’s won a championship, he knows what it takes. He’s a great leader. So we have great expectations this year for the Broncos.”
For more information on Dupuytren's, visit factsonhands.com