Ross Browner

Sep 22, 2013

Sorry to report the news about Ross' medical problem, but he is recovering well..

I have a somewhat related story to add. Sometime after Ross first had this foot problem, he was at a game. He mentioned that he would have difficulty getting to his seat in the stands, being on crutches, so I gave him permission to sit in the north end zone field seats, behind where I stationed myself. Since Ross and Luther Bradley are the two finest Notre Dame defensive players I have ever seen, I was honored to have some time to chat with him. I am also honored that Luther and I have become friends over the past 15 years.
Anyway, this particular game was an Army Flyover with one of their elite paratrooper units landing on the 50 yard line, with the final soldier bringing in the game ball.  It was very impressive hearing how many thousands of jumps these guys had made and watching them circle the stadium and make pinpoint landings.
As always, after the flyover ended, these folks walked down the tunnel and I got to chat with them.  One of the guys was on crutches.  I asked him what happened and he said he broke his ankle.  I told him that this must be an occupational hazard.  He said that this was his 2,000th  and final jump……and the only time he had ever been injured.  He also mentioned that he needed a place to watch the game.  I took him over to Ross and introduced them.  I also assigned one of my best men to keep an eye on both of them so they would not be bothered (because neither had a ticket for their location).  When the game ended, I went over to Ross and the paratrooper and the Usher separately.  Each of them told me the same story.  Ross enjoyed talking with this decorated soldier; the paratrooper was thrilled to be in the company of an ND all-time great; and the Usher said that he was pleased to be in the company of two men he viewed as heroes.
cap

Ross Browner had foot amputated

Updated: September 20, 2013, 7:35 PM ET

By Farrell Evans | ESPN.com

Ross Browner, a star defensive end on Notre Dame's 1973 and 1977 national championship teams, had his left foot amputated in March.

The 59-year-old Warren, Ohio, native and 1999 College Football Hall of Fame inductee developed an ulcer in the foot after he says he was bitten by a brown recluse spider in 2000 while on vacation in the Virgin Islands. This led to multiple infections and 22 operations.

Browner was diagnosed with diabetes in 1994. About 10 to 15 percent of people with that disease can develop a foot ulcer at some point in their lives, according to studies.

"After my last infection in March, my doctor gave me two choices," said Browner, who now resides in Nashville, Tenn. "You can keep your foot, be sick all the time and possibly die, or we can do an amputation and you can have a better quality of life.

"I wanted a better quality life and the chance to be around my wife and my sons. I feel better than I have in a very long time. I was tired of being in and out of the hospital."

Since the operation in March, Browner has been in rehabilitation in Tucson, Ariz., where his son Rylan is a student at Arizona. In late August, the 6-foot-3 Browner was fitted with a size 17 prosthetic foot that he wears without the use of a cane.

On Saturday, Browner, who played 10 years in the NFL, mostly with the Cincinnati Bengals, will be in South Bend for the Notre Dame-Michigan State game to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1973 national championship and undefeated season.

After the 1977 season, Browner won the Lombardi Award for the nation's best lineman and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

His eldest son, Max Starks, was an offensive tackle for nine seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Friday, Starks was signed by the St. Louis Rams, where he will wear No. 79, the same number his father wore during his NFL career.

Browner had three brothers play in the NFL, including Joey Browner, who was a six-time Pro Bowl free safety for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1980s.


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