Perry expected to fully recover

Updated: April 22, 2009, 12:27 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former Chicago Bears great William "The Refrigerator" Perry remains in serious condition in a South Carolina hospital because of complications from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a chronic inflammation disorder of the peripheral nerves.

Perry's nephew, Purnell Perry, told the Chicago Sun-Times his uncle entered the hospital more than a week ago and was expected to make a full recovery.

"They were making sure he was in pretty good health before they started treating him," he said.

Aiken Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Melissa Summer said Wednesday that Perry was in serious condition.

A man who answered the phone Wednesday at Purnell Perry's home in Aiken said he couldn't comment on William Perry's hospitalization.

Perry, 46, was diagnosed last June with the chronic disease and was hospitalized for five months at that time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, Guillain-Barré syndrome is "a disease in which the body damages its own nerve cells [outside of the brain and spinal cord], resulting in muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. GBS can last for weeks to months. Most people eventually recover completely or nearly completely, but some people have permanent nerve damage and between 5 percent and 6 percent of people who develop GBS die."

Perry, a good-natured defensive tackle who was well-known for his large physique of more than 300 pounds -- back when that playing weight was far less common -- played in the NFL for 10 seasons, joining the Philadelphia Eagles after the Bears released him midway through his ninth season. He was the 22nd overall pick in the 1985 NFL draft, by the Bears, and won a Super Bowl his rookie season with Chicago.

He played in 138 games, starting 118 of them, and totaled 29.5 sacks and 506 tackles. He also rushed for two touchdowns in his rookie season, including one in the Super Bowl.

Perry played at Clemson, and helped the Tigers win the 1981 national championship.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.