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Athletes are not immune from disability, but they can inspire

Almost without exception, professional athletes are extraordinary physical specimens who seem impermeable to ordinary illnesses and injuries.

To be sure, the recent struggles of many former pro football players with brain injuries has shown that even those much-lauded warriors are not impervious to injury. Overall, though, professional athletes are people at the peak of their physical powers. It is therefore incongruous to conceive of them as having to deal with potential disability.

But as we discussed in our recent article on athletes and multiple sclerosis, those athletes are vulnerable to disabling conditions, just like everyone else.

As we noted, a good example of this is the challenge posed to popular NSACAR driver Trevor Bayne by his recent MS diagnosis.

MS is a disease in which a disordered immune system attacks the substance (myelin) that is necessary for carrying communication signals between the brain and other parts of the body, including the spinal cord. People who have severe symptoms of multiple sclerosis can sometimes lose the ability to walk because those communication signals are so compromised.

Trevor Bayne, however, has made a return to the racing circuit despite his MS diagnosis. Obviously he will need to manage his symptoms as best he can. And since MS is a progressive disease, it is unclear how long he will be able to continue competing at the NASCAR level.

Still, his case is an inspiring one, showing the importance of perseverance in the face of challenges posed by potentially disabling conditions.

We encourage you to read our article to learn more about Trevor Bayne's journey and about how the Social Security disability system responds to conditions such as MS.

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