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Matt Millen Battling Rare Heart Disease, May Need Transplant

Penn State legend Matt Millen is battling amyloidosis, a rare heart condition, according to The Morning Call. The four-time Super Bowl champion was diagnosed with the disease last summer.

He began feeling symptoms seven years ago, but initial tests found nothing abnormal. After searching for some kind of diagnosis for six years, he finally got the news during a 15-minute visit to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

Doctors say that Millen’s heart is currently operating at 30 percent of normal capacity. He’s undergone chemotherapy weekly for the past eight months and might need a heart transplant.

Millen was a standout football player for Whitehall High School before becoming an All-American defensive tackle at Penn State. He was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the 1980 NFL Draft and later played for the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins, bringing Super Bowl rings to each team he joined. After 12 years in the NFL, Millen became a sports broadcaster. He was the CEO and de facto general manager of the Detroit Lions from 2001 to 2007 before returning to broadcasting.

Despite his prognosis, Millen has tried to keep his life relatively normal. As the Morning Call details, he refuses to use a riding lawnmower to cut his grass, opting to push his around the yard just like he’s done for years. He’ll also be back in the booth at Penn State football games this fall as an analyst for the Big Ten Network.

“While I’m still up on this side, I’ll enjoy everything,” Millen told the Morning Call. “I’m thankful for what I have, and I’ll take what I get.”

Millen will use his platform as a Penn State icon and Super Bowl champion to raise awareness for amyloidosis. The disease is classified as rare, but it often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms, including chest pains and shortness of breath, are similar to those of other common diseases.

He and his wife Pat will travel to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles this week for further transplant evaluations.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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