Former Titans lineman Tim Shaw diagnosed with ALS

Tennessee Titans linebacker Tim Shaw celebrates his fumble recovery on a punt on the Philadelphia...

Tennessee Titans linebacker Tim Shaw celebrates his fumble recovery on a punt on the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of their NFL football game at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee October 24, 2010. (REUTERS/M. J. Masotti Jr.)

The Sports Xchange

, Last Updated: 12:44 PM ET

Former Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Tim Shaw was diagnosed with ALS, he said Wednesday.

Shaw, 30, retired from the NFL on his birthday earlier this season after he was released in 2013.

Because Shaw is under age 45, he would be awarded a maximum benefit of $5 million from the NFL under the proposed head injuries settlement.

A special-teams captain for the Titans, Shaw was a highly respected teammate. The NFL has changed rules on kickoff returns to protect against head injuries by eliminating "the wedge," a wide wall of blockers that requires kickoff coverage teams to "break" the wedge, mostly with full-force collisions.

In a video released by the Titans, Shaw participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge -- the social media rage designed to raise awareness for ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

"A year ago, I was playing NFL football," Shaw, 30, said in the short video. "I've recently been diagnosed with ALS. I'm here today to stand up and fight with all of you against this disease."

Shaw's diagnosis could prompt further investigation into the connection between football, head injuries and ALS.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found in a 2012 study that NFL players are four times more likely to suffer and die from ALS than non-NFL players and a similarly high risk for Alzheimer's.

Known high-profile NFL cases of O.J. Brigance with the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints' Steve Gleason, who became major advocates for awareness of ALS.

Shaw was a fifth-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2007 out of Penn State and played one season with the Panthers, Jaguars and Bears before joining the Titans in 2010.

He played in all 16 games all three seasons in Tennessee as a special teams ace, starting three games at linebacker. He played in 80 games in six seasons.


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