Chicago — Mike Ditka gained some important support in his bid to help players who are now ailing in retirement.
Doctors in Arizona and Pennsylvania announced on Tuesday that they are donating medical care to those in need through the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund.
Ditka, the Hall of Fame player who later coached the Bears to a Super Bowl championship, has criticized the players' union for ignoring the medical needs of former players with serious injuries who can't afford to pay for their care. Gridiron Greats has raised more than $1 million since it was formed a year ago.
Now, it has doctors at the Surgical Specialty Hospital of Arizona in Phoenix and the OAA Orthopedic Specialists in Allentown, Pa., providing free treatment to former players who qualify, while the organization covers travel and helps with other expenses.