ESPN to Air Documentary on Former UIC Soccer Player

Pat Grange as a UIC Flame during the 2001 season.
Pat Grange as a UIC Flame during the 2001 season.

April 29, 2014

CHICAGO - ESPN’s award-winning program, E:60, will air a story tonight (April 29) at 7pm CT about former UIC soccer player Pat Grange.  In 2010 at the age of 28, Grange was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Grange was one of the youngest people to be diagnosed with ALS, as it typically affects people after 50. He was robbed of his future in soccer, and had to use a feeding tube and a wheelchair after he was diagnosed.

ESPN heard about Grange and his story and followed him, documenting the battle he fought and the positive attitude he always had.

In 2012 at 29, Grange lost his battle with the disease, yet the legacy he left behind has changed the way soccer will be played. While examining his brain, researchers found evidence related to heading the ball that could have long-term implications for soccer.

ALS is a progressive neuromuscular disease which affects the brain’s motor neuron pathways causing progressive muscle weakness. The disease can cause loss of function of speech, swallowing, and movement. Approximately two in 100,000 people are diagnosed with ALS, with over 5,000 new cases per year diagnosed within the United States. The cause of ALS is unknown, and can be diagnosed by a neurologist. There is no cure for ALS, only medications to help relieve the symptoms.

Grange played for the Flames from 2001-02 for his freshman and sophomore season before transferring back home to the University of New Mexico. At UIC, Grange had a career 16 goals, nine assists, and earned a spot on the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team. While at New Mexico, he had a career 12 goals, five assists, and received MPSF All-Tournament Honors.