For older National Football League fans from the tri-state area and throughout the U.S., many fondly recall the New York Jets football star and defensive legend Mark Gastineau. Part of the highly acclaimed “New York Sack Exchange,” Gastineau wreaked havoc across the league for a decade with the Jets between 1979-1988 for his tenacious play and aggressive style.

Statistics do not lie, and only confirms that the man was a beast on the field, compiling a franchise leading record for sacks, yet to be broken. But for anyone who watches the sport knows, football is violent. And as the NFL has slowly begun to acknowledge, the violence and constant impacts from players often leads to severe injuries or illnesses down the road.

It was recently revealed in a 710 WOR radio program that Gastineau is currently suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, likely all a result of his take-no-prisoner approach and playing style in the game. He was diagnosed about a year ago, but only recently went public with the news. He has since become an advocate for safety in sports, and has partnered up with USA Football to help young players stay healthy, both during their days playing and beyond.

Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are all listed as qualifying conditions for Social Security’s disabilities benefits programs. If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the above disease, you may want to speak with a law firm familiar with Social Security disability benefits programs to see whether the victim may qualify.