A two time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion as part of the Chicago Bears, Steve “Mongo” McMichael later became a popular wrestler in WCW after retiring from football. Now at 63 years old he finds himself in the fight of his life.
In a story by the Chicago Tribune, McMichael was revealed to be suffering from the disease ALS, better known as Lou Gerhig’s Disease. Diagnosed in September during a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, McMichael’s right and left arms were described in the article as “dead”, while his right and left legs have significantly weakened. He can no longer hold anything in his arms.
“I promise you,” McMichael said in regards to the disease. “This epitaph that I’m going to have on me now? This ain’t ever how I envisioned this was going to end.”
Though he is still able to walk, McMichael will soon be forced to be fully confined to a wheelchair. It is believed he has lost 50-60 lbs in the last several months and now requires constant are from his wife, Misty, and his daughter, Macy.
“What I used to be is the antithesis of what I am now,” he said. “This is a humbling thing, brother. I feel like a baby lying there whining, help me! Waaaaaa!'”
Despite all the hardships, McMichael is determined to handle the situation with the same humor and bravado he carried throughout his wrestling and football career. It is clear the disease has taken a mental toll as well though, even between the wisecracks.
“I’m not the provider anymore,” McMichael said, describing his inability to work to support his wife and daughter. “I’m just one of the animals. I’m last in line behind the chihuahua. We’re both waiting in line to go to the bathroom.”
Nevertheless McMichael is committed to fight, with the support of his family and former teammates, comparing his struggle to athletes trying out for the NFL Draft.
“That’s the ‘it’ they’re all looking for at all those scouting combines,” McMichael said. “That fight. You’re never going to stop bringing that (out of me).”
McMichael first joined WCW in 1995 as the color commentator for WCW Monday Nitro. He eventually transitioned to wrestling full time, becoming a member of the last two incarnations of the legendary Four Horsemen stable. He would win the WCW United States Championship in 1997 and remained in WCW until February of 1999.
McMichael also made an appearance at WrestleMania 11 in 1995, as one of the many football players cornering Lawrence Taylor for his match against Bam Bam Bigelow.