Nearly a decade after Wally Hilgenberg's death, his widow can still hear his voice telling her he loves her, at the push of a button. It's programmed into a stuffed bear he gave her shortly before succumbing to ALS in 2008. That's how Mary Hilgenberg has chosen to remember her husband, not as the hard-nosed linebacker over 15 years for the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings or as the victim of a debilitating disease that left him unable to move any muscle but his Ameer Abdullah Jerseys eyeballs in his final days."If a fly landed on him, he couldn't move it," she said. "And this was all for the game of football." Doctors who studied Wally Hilgenberg's donated brain after he died determined that the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis he suffered from was due to his lifelong participation in the sport. "We thought of his ankles, his knees, his broken jaws, his nose broken so Barry Sanders Jerseys many times, his fingers broken so many times, everything like that, but the brain never once came into our conversation, that he could be hurting his brain," Mary Hilgenberg said. "Wally would be knocked out, and if he could count to 10, he's back in the game. It wasn't a thing to think about."Wally Hilgenberg was one of Calvin Johnson Jerseys the hundreds of former Marvin Jones Jr Jerseys football players studied posthumously by Boston medical researchers for the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy . Mary Hilgenberg was one of many surviving family members interviewed by The Associated Press about their experiences with loved ones who suffered from post-career symptoms traced to head trauma. "The death that Wally had was horrendous," she Matthew Stafford Jerseys said. "By the time he died, he could only blink his eyes and he was defenseless against a fly. If a fly landed on him, he couldn't move it. And this was all for the game of football.