May he rest in peace…
May of us remember football legend Tom Dempsey, place-kicker for the New Orleans Saints. Despite being born with no fingers on his right hand, and only half of his right foot, Dempsey overcame the odds (and the prejudice) to eventually hold the record for longest field goal (63 yds) in NFL history for a whopping 28 years.
Sadly, Dempsey just passed away, and according to the United Press International (UPI) news service, their sensationalistic headline ran “Legendary New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey dies from coronavirus“.
To their credit, UPI did note in the first paragraph of Dempsey’s advanced age, 73. In that same paragraph, the news service stand firm with their own headline by specifying that the ballplayer passed-away due to “complications from the coronavirus.”
Eventually, UPI got around to noting that Dempsey “… contracted the virus last month” and eventually cited, “Dempsey had been battling Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”
Hmmm, no mention to how long he had Alzheimer’s and dementia, and if either had any ill effect on the immune system. Unfortunately, I had to go to the British press (The Gazette of Buckinghamshire, Great Britain) who reported;
[Dempsey] had been in the grips of Alzheimer’s and dementia since 2012.
He was diagnosed with Covid-19 on March 25 and died on April 4 aged 73.
So Dempsey had contracted Covid-19 for a whole 10 days, and was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia for the past eight years, right?
In the meantime, take my word for it, I’ve gone to over a dozen major news sites to see if any of them have noted if there is any link(s) between Alzheimer’s and/or dementia and a compromised human immune system. Coming as no surprise, I found none.
However, I did come across a WebMD.com article that cites the results of a scholarly study conducted by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease; (emphasis mine)
In the new study, scientists tested participants’ blood. The researchers spotted a difference in immune system cells called macrophages.
“Macrophages are the janitors of the innate immune system, gobbling up waste products in the brain and throughout the body,” says researcher Milan Fiala, MD, in a news release. Fiala works in the medical school of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as the Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center.
OK, so let me get this straight, Dempsey was 73-years-old as well as suffering with Alzheimer’s, a disease noted for compromising the body’s immune system.
With no disrespect to the memory of Tom Dempsey or to the Dempsey family, I have to ask two questions:
- Did he die from coronavirus or with coronavirus?
- Considering his advanced age and weakened immune system, could he have passed away if he caught the Common Cold (which is exactly what the coronavirus is)?
I did come across a rather interesting passage from Newsweek magazine from Jan 1, 2020;
Complications from a cold can cause serious illnesses and, yes, even death—particularly in people who have a weak immune system.
Tom Dempsey’s historic 63-yard field goal on Nov. 8, 1970 pic.twitter.com/UcZNBoOw9t
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) April 5, 2020