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Rugby | SA Rugby

Joost van der Westhuizen © Gallo Images

Joost 'may not have Motor Neuron Disease'



Former Springbok captain Joost van der Westhuizen may not have Motor Neuron Disease, his doctor has said.

Van der Westhuizen was discharged from hospital and has headed home for treatment, with his treating physician Dr Jody Pearl declining to confirm initial reports that he suffered from Motor Neuron Disease. Rather Dr Pearl believes his condition is closer to a neurological disorder.

“Joost van der Westhuizen is currently under my care and is still being investigated to determine a final diagnosis,” Dr Pearl said in a statement.

“I am pleased to report that he is stable and in good spirits, and is approaching this health challenge with similar courage to that which he displayed on the rugby pitch. His complex clinical presentation is suggestive of a neurological disorder.

“The diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease is unfortunately a possibility, but is not confirmed. Motor Neuron Disease and similar neurological disorders require careful consideration, and at times a trial of therapy, before a final diagnosis is made.

“Joost has been discharged from Hospital following multiple investigations and is currently on a trial of therapy with his condition being regularly reassessed.

"We are doing everything within our power based on global best practice to rapidly establish Joost’s diagnosis, and to offer him the best possible therapy”.

Van der Westhuizen has kept his silence since being diagnosed with the disorder.



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