Pat Bowlen and Alzheimer’s

By Allan Vann, The Denver Post, July 27, 2014

Pat Bowlen’s resignation from Bronco ownership due to Alzheimer’s affords the Broncos a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to their former owner and help him and all Americans dealing with Alzheimer’s.  Each October the Broncos and all NFL teams promote breast cancer awareness.  Players wear pink on their uniforms to show support for those diagnosed with breast cancer and to stimulate greater awareness.   Each November our country celebrates National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.  The Broncos can wear purple in November to show support for all those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and to stimulate greater awareness.  Bronco announcers can promote Alzheimer’s awareness.

Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in this country, and the only disease among the top ten killers that has no effective means of prevention, treatment, or cure.  In September, 2012, the federal Centers for Disease Control issued a report based upon a study of nearly 3500 NFL retirees that concluded, “NFL players are three times as likely as the general population to die from a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.”

It would seem that honoring Pat Bowlen and more than 5 million other Americans dealing with Alzheimer’s would be a natural fit for the Broncos, as well as for all NFL teams.  Bronco and all NFL radio and TV broadcasts in November can increase awareness to help find a way to prevent, treat, and finally cure Alzheimer’s. That would be a wonderful tribute to Mr. Bowlen and an immense public service to others.

Cancer is a horrible disease.  My mother died of cancer.  I hope that NFL players continue wearing pink and NFL announcers continue promoting cancer awareness and research every October.  But Alzheimer’s is also a horrible disease.  My wife has Alzheimer’s.  I hope that Bronco players begin wearing purple and NFL announcers begin promoting Alzheimer’s awareness and research each November.

Pink is extremely important. So is purple.