Meet Tim Green —Former NFL Player Battling ALS He Believes Was Caused By Football

"I don't know anyone more fortunate and blessed than me — even with this."

Who Is Tim Green? New Details On Former NFL Player Battling ALS He Believes Caused By Football Getty

Tim Green, former linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons, is hailed for making waves in the world of the NFL, leaving a profound legacy that transcends the game itself. Today, he's continuing that legacy in his greatest battle yet — battling ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's disease, while maintaining a humbled sense of bravery and power.

A fighter coping with the inevitable on his own terms, Tim Green displayed poise and grace on this past week's segment of 60 Minutes, where he narrated his personal story with a vulnerability that rendered us captivated and inspired. In the hour-long interview, Green touches on his diagnosis: how he realized things weren't quite right, how he now lives life, and how he believes football, his steadfast passion, poses risks that often manifest into fatal, long-term injuries, such as his. Who is Tim Green?


1. Tim Green's upbringing.

Growing up in Syracuse, New York, Tim Green flourished in a stable, loving home as a child of adoption, and though he has fond memories, he yearned to know his birth parents. He sought to fulfill that desire through a slew of girlfriends, as documented in the 1998 article, "Heart of the Matter" in People. This sense of longing was the driving force that propelled Green towards prosperity: academically and athletically. Green describes his lifelong quest and process of finding his birth mother in the book, A Man and His Mother, which, in part, was written at the encouragement of his wife, Illyssa Green. Through this quest, he discovered that his birth father served as an Army officer and held a degree in Mathematics, while his biological mother was an elementary school teacher. Green eventually reached out to his mother, and the two have maintained a warm relationship.


2. Tim Green on the field.

When Tim Green was in high school, he made the varsity team as a freshman. He played in college, and then went on to play professional football for eight years. He was a first round selection in 1986 NFL draft, and went on to play for the Atlanta Falcons as a linebacker and defensive end. If you're a football guru and are interested in his stats, go here. 

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3. Tim Green off the field.

Tim Green's resume stretches beyond football accolades, bleeding into the classroom and through the written word. In high school, Green was a straight A student, earning a college scholarship at Syracuse University, where he studied English and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Then, he went on to law school and worked as an attorney, as if being an athletic superstar wasn't enough; and then while working in the broadcast booth for Fox Sports, he went on to begin a burgeoning writing career, which resulted in six bestselling books. 

4. Tim Green's wife, Illyssa Green, and family.

Tim Green and Illyssa Wolkoff Green, have walked together through the ups and downs of life. The pair met through mutual friends in college, and made things official when they got married in 1989. They and their five children reside in Skaneateles, New York, where Green has taken several coaching positions over the years. A family of dedicated sports nuts, three of his children are furthering the family's athletic legacy at their respective colleges. 


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5. Tim Green's ALS.

It all started with a nail clipper — one day, out of nowhere, Green struggled with this seemingly benign task. He didn't think much of it, considering all he's been through on the field. Gradually though, things became more difficult; and finally in 2016, he finally confided to his son that something was seriously wrong. One thing led to another and soon, Green was met with the dreaded prognosis at Mount Sinai Hospital, where the neurologist told him to "get his affairs in order." That didn't, and still doesn't, stop Green from making the most of his final days, though: he made public appearances afterwards, and still works out daily to keep his muscles functioning. He can still write, almost finished with his 39th book.

6. Tim Green's stance on football and ALS.

In a 1996 interview on 60 Minutes, Green discussed the inherent risks and violent consequences of the game; and today, head trauma has been identified as the reason behind his ALS. He has had way over 10 concussions, not to mention countless practices and games when he would get hit head on. He would leave games and practices with a swollen head, along with other injuries. No one, at the time, was particularly concerned about football-related head trauma and as a result, everyone, including himself, ran wild. Tim Green often asserts that he may not be in this position, had his football career begun 30 years later.


Dominique McIntee is an unapologetic Scorpio (BIG co-star girl), reality TV loving heathen, and twenty-something, NYC-based writer with a moderately interesting life, knack for editing, and passion for content creation.