One Ex-Liverpool player Stephen Darby, 31, describes his battle with 'horrible' motor neurone disease

Former Liverpool footballer Stephen Darby has spoken out one year on from being diagnosed with motor neurone disease about how it is affecting his wife and fellow footballer Steph Houghton.

Darby, 31, was told he had the incurable neurological condition just months after getting married to England women's captain Steph Houghton in 2018. 

The ex-Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers star says the 'brutal disease' and its 'terrible prognosis' of two to five years is having a devastating effect on his family.

He told the BBC: 'It doesn't just affect me. It affects my wife, my mum and dad, my brother, family, friends. It affects everyone. 

'It's a brutal disease with a horrible prognosis. That's the message we need to get across to people to help move forward.'

Speaking at the launch of his charity, which he founded with fellow MND patient and Afghanistan veteran Chris Rimmer, he detailed his progressive symptoms.

He said: 'Physically, I've got hand weakness and my arms are weak at the moment.

'But I'd say a year after being diagnosed I'm not doing too bad.

'Life expectancy is normally two to five years for anyone with MND. A third of those people die within a year, that's obviously quite tough.' 

Darby's condition saw him retire from football at 29. His friend and fellow charity founder Chris Rimmer medically retired from the Army at 32 in 2015

Choking back tears, Darby said the launch of his charitable foundation was an 'emotional day'. 

He hopes it will raise much-need funds and awareness to help manage and even cure the condition.  

Despite battling the aggressive disease, the 31-year-old was there every step of the way when his wife was fighting for World Cup glory in France this summer. 

He was on the sidelines cheering her on when they were beaten by the USA in the semi-final. 

Houghton has hinted she may give up her career if her husband's condition worsens.

She said in a previous interview: 'He's my priority. If anything were to change in the near future, my job is to be the best wife I can and look after him.' 

Darby was treated for another condition for a year before doctors started testing for MND.

Eighteen months in he was finally given the devastating news.

Describing his symptoms on the charity's website he writes: Over the course of the last 2 and a half years, symptoms have been progressing slowly. I

'I have weakness in both hands and twitching in my arms, legs, chest and tongue.'

He added: 'Starting the foundation was a way of turning something so devastating into something positive. 

'To have a positive impact on MND and to help those individuals and families living through it to support them.'

stella Posted on October 31, 2019 09:49

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