Rugby legend diagnosed with MND

Former Scotland and British & Irish Lions forward Doddie Weir has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Weir, who was a Test lock and No 8, revealed on Monday that he is suffering from the incurable disease, saying he decided to speak publicly about his condition to raise awareness ahead of Global MND Day, which is on 21 June.

'Over the past few months a number of friends and family have raised concerns surrounding my health. I think then, that on this day set to help raise awareness of the condition, I should confirm that I too have motor neurone disease. I should like to take this opportunity to thank the national health services in recognising, then diagnosing this as yet incurable disease,' said Weir.

The 46-year-old, who won 61 caps for Scotland, has confirmed his intent to establish a foundation to assist research around the terminal disease and supporting sufferers.

'I will devote my time towards assisting research and raising awareness and funds to help support fellow sufferers. There are plans in place to create a charitable foundation to help in any way we can and we will share these details with you,' he explained.

Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen, who played against Weir in the 1990s, also suffered from MND and lost his battle against the illness on 6 February.

MND is a rare, but terminal illness that damages parts of the nervous system, which leads to muscle weakness with visible wasting.

Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams