The long, sad road of William “The Refrigerator” Perry (VIDEO)
This one will tug at your heart strings. ESPN’s Tom Friend recently re-connected with former Bears DT William Perry, and put together this feature on the man forever known to football fans simply as “The Fridge”. What Friend found was a broken man, 25 years removed from the glory days of the ’85 Super Bowl championship, and still battling his weight and ongoing addiction to alcohol.
Perry – who is now 48 years old and living with his wife in Aiken, SC – suffers from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a neurological disorder that can cause paralysis and is worsened by alcohol. Diagnosed in June 2008, the sickness hit Perry hard and he began wasting away … but he never quit drinking. And eventually, it took it’s toll on The Fridge:
On an April afternoon in 2009, his blood pressure dropped. Valerie began to panic, but, fortuitously, Daryl and Daryl’s wife, Tavy, happened to stop by that night after going to dinner.
“We said, ‘Let’s go see bro’ and see how he’s doing,”’ Daryl says. “When we got in the house, he was lying motionless. He wasn’t moving. He wasn’t blinking. I was tapping him on the shoulder, yelling at him, just trying to get a response. Nothing. So we called the paramedics.”
Consensus from the doctors is that Perry nearly died that day. Not only had he suffered a relapse of Guillain-Barre, he had pneumonia. He couldn’t hear out of his right ear and couldn’t see more than five feet in front of him.
Worse yet, the Fridge — famous the world over for his stomach — weighed exactly 190 pounds.
Yet, despite suffering through recovery in the hospital for 16 months, Perry continues to drink beer. He stubbornly ignores the orders of his doctors, won’t take his medication, and seemingly lives in constant denial of his failing physical condition. Back up to a weight of 400 pounds and barely able to carry himself around the house, Perry somehow still believes himself to be in good health, despite the mountain of evidence to suggest otherwise. And after watching this piece, there’s one sad truth you can’t help but come to accept: The Fridge seems destined for a tragic ending, and it’s made all the more tragic by his detachment from reality.
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