Oakland trainer begins fight against ALS

Posted at 6:16 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 18:35:55-04

It came on suddenly, and without warning.

"We knew something was wrong during the course of the year." Men's basketball head coach Greg Kampe said.

"Had to take a moment and just go out to my car and collect myself." Oakland men's soccer coach Eric Pogue recalled.

"Tom called me on Friday and we talked for about a half-hour and cried for about half of that," long-time swimming and diving coach Pete Hovland added.

"I've been serving people all my life, why not do it in my next chapter in life as an ALS person," 30-year Oakland University Athletic Trainer Tom Ford said.

Thousands of student-athletes with hundreds of different ailments over the 30 years Ford spent at Oakland came to him for cures. More often than not, they found them.

But in cruel irony, it's Ford who now seeks a cure, for a disease we know so little about.

"I'm not giving up, not at all, I'm going to fight this thing, and I mean it, I'm going to fight it until the end," Ford added.

Emotions have been high all week and today, Ford returned to campus for the first time since the announcement, you see he was always the one delivering the "it'll be okay" speech, today the encouragement came full circle.

"I know that for sure, I know I got a lot of alumni and a lot of student-athletes, administration, coaches, everybody on my side, backing me and pushing me through this, I know it do," Ford said.

And he absolutely does. Former athletes have started at Go Fund Me page, and the University is already planning countless nights and activities in honor of Ford.