VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WIAT) — From his high school days in Prattville, to his time at the University of Alabama, and playing for the pros, Kevin Turner’s life has revolved around football. Sadly, on March 24th, he lost his battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
CBS42 Chief Meteorologist, Mark Prater and Kevin Turner have been close friends since childhood. Prater says just Kevin’s name alone sparks unforgettable memories, “Growing up in Prattville, I was witness to Kevin Turner as he launched his football career as a high school superstar, and became one of the best college football running backs to hit the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
In 1992 Turner took his talents to the next level. He was drafted by the New England Patriots and went on to have a stellar eight year pro football career. But in the summer of 2010, Turner was tackled by the hardest hitting opponent he had ever faced, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS for short.
But the diagnosis wouldn’t keep the father of three from the game he loved. As sports writer, John Feinstein puts it, Turner was a fighter, “Kevin just said I don’t care what’s going on with my health, I’m just going to keep fighting.”
He later started the Kevin Turner Foundation to mentor young athletes. For friends of “KT”, like Mark, they say throughout his battle with ALS, his sense of humor, even in the darkest of times, could always bring a smile to your face.
Nationally known comedian “Larry the Cable Guy” was so moved hearing Turner would lose his voice that he offered his own.
They’re plenty of things still unknown when it comes to ALS and how to stop its cruel progression, but as Mark says, it couldn’t take everything away from his friend, “No disease could every take the indomitable spirit, the heart of a champion, a great father. Kevin Turner was my friend and a brother. He is now at peace, free from his affliction.”
Turner left a legacy and a foundation that will continue to educate and fight to find a cure for ALS. You can learn more about his foundation here.
His funeral will be held in Prattville this weekend, He was 46-years-old.