NFL Legend Bernie Kosar Reveals Tragic Medical Diagnosis

NFL Legend Bernie Kosar Reveals Tragic Medical Diagnosis

In the face of daunting health challenges, Bernie Kosar remains steadfast and hopeful. The former Cleveland Browns quarterback, a revered figure in Cleveland sports history, is battling not one, but two serious medical conditions. At 60 years old, Kosar has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and is also in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

Kosar shared his optimistic outlook with Cleveland Magazine, despite the severity of his health issues after he has seen significant health improvements after a concerning start to 2024.

Initially, his condition appeared dire, leading to his placement on the liver transplant list in late spring. Dr. Anthony Post, a hepatologist at University Hospitals, has been closely monitoring Kosar’s health. Despite the former quarterback’s rapid improvement, Dr. Post cautioned that liver disease can be unpredictable, and conditions can change swiftly. Kosar’s ongoing treatment and recovery are closely watched by his family, fans, and medical team.

“Liver disease does tend to fluctuate,” Post said. “So he’s on that wave thing where it goes up and down. He’s in a good phase right now, but anything bad could happen.” Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer of Cleveland Clinic, believes Kosar’s path toward recovery will likely involve a liver transplant, estimating more than a 90% chance that the former quarterback will need a new liver.  “He is a wonderful and tough human being,” Roizen remarked, “but undergoing a transplant, no matter who you are, is a difficult thing: difficult to get the transplant, difficult to live with it.”

Kosar’s NFL career spanned from 1985 to 1996, with the majority of his time spent with the Cleveland Browns. His tenure with the team was highlighted by several playoff appearances, including three AFC Championship Games. Unfortunately for Kosar and the Browns, each of these championship games resulted in losses to the Denver Broncos, including the infamous 1986 and 1987 games, known for “The Drive” and “The Fumble” which were heartbreaking for Cleveland fans.

In 1993, midway through the season, Kosar was unexpectedly released by the Browns in a controversial decision made by then-head coach Bill Belichick. Shortly after his release, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys, with whom he won a Super Bowl in the 1993 season, serving as a backup to Troy Aikman.

Kosar finished his career with the Miami Dolphins, playing as a backup from 1994 to 1996 under his former college coach, Jimmy Johnson. Post-retirement, Kosar stayed connected to football in various capacities, including brief stints in broadcasting and consulting roles.

Off the field, Kosar has contributed to the community and remains a beloved figure in Cleveland, often participating in team events and NFL-related activities. However, his battle with liver disease reached a turning point 16 months ago when he was diagnosed with cirrhosis, the third of four stages of liver failure.

“My body gave out on me. I really felt like I wasn’t going to make it home from the Jets game,” he said. “I sucked it up, though, and continued to avoid the doctors until the new year. Then I went into the hospital and got a massive blood transfusion. It was like: ‘How are you alive? How are you moving? Because your hemoglobin levels are so low.’”

“I wish you could have seen me three months ago,’’ Kosar said. “Actually, maybe not, because I looked like death. I felt like death. E. Coli blood poisoning. Heart trouble. And I really thought I needed the liver transplant ASAP. I was in bad shape. I have an incredibly specific regimen of juicing, black coffee and smart supplementation. Digestive enzymes are part of it. Intermittent fasting. Basically, I’m using food as medicine and avoiding the processed foods, the foods with inflammatory properties.

“It’s amazing that you can feel as good as I do despite all this stuff going on. I can see that what I’m doing is making a difference. I strongly believe it will continue. Time will tell.’’

“I strongly believe in the power of positive thinking,’’ Kosar finished. “For me, it’s not just a slogan. I believe that positive energy can be manifested in our brains, and I love to live in the space of positivity. I want to think about things that are helpful. It sounds like I’m getting on a soap box here, but I visualize good health. It’s not so much that I’m trying to sell it to myself, or that I’m in denial, as it is choosing to be positive. Because everybody’s got something. We’ve all got health issues to some degree, we all have bumps in the road.”

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