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Former Ravens Player Works To Defeat ALS

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Every 90 minutes, someone in this country is diagnosed with ALS, a disease which quickly leads to paralysis.

As Mike Schuh reports, former Raven O.J. Brigance continues his fight and is raising money to help others.

First, he was a Baltimore Stallion and then a special teams master with the Ravens their Super Bowl year. Since 2004, he’s been a senior advisor for player development with the Ravens. But his diagnosis four years ago with ALS has changed his life.

ALS has now put him in a chair. Unable to speak, he communicates with burning bright eyes, a quick smile and a miracle of technology: a computer that reads his eyes and allows him to type his thoughts, browse the Internet and read and send email.

Brigance was just a mile from the Westminster training camp Saturday, there to accept a check for his Brigance Brigade ALS Foundation.

Mike Schuh had a brother with ALS and says people confuse a broken body with a broken mind. An ALS patient has no diminishing of their intellectual abilities.

Brigance is using his situation to raise money to help those who don’t have the staggering amount of money it takes to live with this debilitating disease.

“It’s all types of equipment– everything out there– and it’s all expensive,” said his wife, Chanda Brigance. “Nothing good comes cheap.”

Together, they’ve raised over a half million dollars.

ALS is always fatal. Eighty percent of ALS patients die within five years of their diagnosis. Brigance says the first families will receive help in November.

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