Ex-Heisman winner Wuerffel fighting Guillain-Barré syndrome

Former NFL quarterback Danny Wuerffel has contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder in which the immune system attacks the body's nervous system in response to illness such as respiratory infections or the stomach flu, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The illness can result in paralysis, according to The Times, but Wuerffel, who began receiving treatment last Friday in Birmingham, Ala., said he is able to stand despite weakness in his legs and a string of headaches. He is expected to recover from the more severe aspects of the illness.

"It puts life into perspective, doesn't it? The last time I was here we thought the shoulder was serious stuff," Wuerffel told the newspaper, referencing his last visit to Birmingham in 2002, to have his throwing shoulder examined while he was still with the Washington Redskins.

Wuerffel, 37, said he's received encouraging messages from former University of Florida coaches Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer; and the school's current coach, Will Muschamp.

Said Wuerffel: "It reminds (me) of when I was playing and people were cheering and pulling for you."

Wuerffel won the 1996 Heisman Trophy while at Florida and was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft

He spent three season with the Saints, where he started six games, before landing with the Green Bay Packers in 2000, the Chicago Bears in 2001 and the Washington Redskins in 2002.

Wuerffel finished his NFL career with 12 touchdowns and 22 interceptions, throwing for 2,123 yards and a 56.4 passer rating.

He currently works as the executive director of Desire Street Ministries, which serves the inner city of Decatur, Ga.

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