During an appearance on NBC's 3rd Hour of Today, Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway revealed his 15-year battle with a hand condition that affects the ability of bent fingers to straighten. The condition, Dupuytren's contracture, involves a tendon pulling fingers into a bent position.
"When I saw my hand doctor, the only option was surgery," Elway said on Today. "I wasn't interested in more surgeries. I've had so many surgeries during my playing career. At that point in time, I didn't want to have another one."
Elway told USA Today that the condition left his hands sore when he played golf and made it difficult at times to hold a football "the right way." His condition got worse over the years, but he eventually learned about a newer non-surgical option from his doctor to treat it. He had the non-surgical option done on one of his hands two years ago and then a year later on his other hand. Elway's fingers are straight again but there's always a chance the condition could return.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Dupuytren's contracture most commonly affects the pinky and ring fingers. It often occurs in older men of Northern European descent and is also known as Viking's Disease.
Elway played for the Broncos for 16 seasons and led them to their first two Super Bowl victories in franchise history in 1998 and 1999. He retired after winning his second title and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. The former quarterback returned to the Broncos in 2011 and currently serves as general manager and executive vice president of football operations.