Former Michigan great Ron Johnson, 63, battles Alzheimer's disease
Ron Johnson, an All-American running back who played with the Michigan football team from 1966-68, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2008.
Today, he is 63 years old and lives in a care facility in New Jersey. Johnson's early onset of the disease and his reliance on the National Football League's 88 Plan to pay for his care was featured Sunday in The New York Times.
Johnson's story is told through the eyes of his wife of 37 years, Karen, who cares for him daily. She's convinced the hits he took as a football player contributed to his disease, and she figures there soon will be a growing need for more facilities to care for patients like Ron Johnson.
Karen Johnson also recalls how she met Johnson in March 1967. Johnson rushed for 2,524 yards at Michigan in 24 games. Three times he topped 200 yards rushing in a game while at Michigan, with his most memorable game coming against Wisconsin in 1968 when he scored five touchdowns while rushing for 347 yards.
Johnson went on to play seven seasons in the NFL, six of them with the New York Giants. He finished his career with 4,308 rushing yards, 1,977 receiving yards and 55 touchdowns.