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Titans fans will remember Tim Shaw as a tough-as-nails player on special teams.

Now Shaw's toughness is being put to its biggest test.

Shaw came forward this week and announced he is suffering from ALS. He broke the news on the team's website and later attended Titans practice and spoke openly about his condition.

In speaking to the media on Wednesday, Shaw acknowledged he understands what he is up against.

"I would never say I am not afraid of anything," he said. "… If you look at what ALS has done to people, that is a scary process. So I am not scared to die, but the process is a little daunting."

ALS is a progressive degeneration of the motor neurons that eventually leads to death. In the latter stages of the disease, patients sometimes become totally paralyzed physically although brain function may be unaffected.

Although I knew a little bit about a condition often called Lou Gehrig's disease, I first learned of the horrors of the illness when I did a story on Bob Ivey, who played football at Vanderbilt in 1965-67. He was diagnosed with ALS in 1984.

Mr. Ivey and his family valiantly fought the disease before he succumbed. The way he handled such adversity was inspiring.

Likewise, Tim Shaw's willingness to step forward and speak about the insidious disease is a source of inspiration. We should always keep in mind that this is about much, much more than buckets of ice water. It's about finding a cure for ALS.

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