Doddie Weir speaks about living with MND during lockdown

Scotland rugby legend Doddie Weir has spoken about life in lockdown in a series of television interviews where he says his medical team told him that if he was put on a ventilator as a result of catching Covid the likelihood was he would never come off.

Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir opens up about living with MND under lockdown
Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir opens up about living with MND under lockdown

Doddie says he is enjoying spending time with the family during lockdown and is looking forward to turning 50 on July 4th.

The former Scotland, Lions and Melrose player was talking to BBC presenter Sally Nugent alongside fellow sports stars, former rugby league player Rob Burrow and footballer Stephen Darby who are also living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

He also spoke to ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme.

The three men have become close friends since taking part in a BBC interview and meeting for the first time back in February.

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Speaking about lockdown on his farm in the Scottish Borders, Doddie opened up about the impact living with MND during the coronavirus crisis had on his life.

He said: “Yeah, things are not too bad, I still need a bit of help with showering, clothing and eating but otherwise I’m down on the farm.

“I’m quite enjoying lockdown actually because it allows me time with the family.

“Believe it or not, drive my tractor - which I quite enjoy for a couple of hours a day.

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“Just do normal things with the family that maybe wasn’t happening before.

“So, things are not too bad.

“My nearest shop is four miles away, the nearest neighbour is a quarter of a mile away, so it’s allowed me still to get out and about.”

Weir, who made 61 appearances for Scotland between 1990-2000, was diagnosed with MND in June 2017.

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Nugent asked Doddie about the easing of lockdown restrictions in Scotland and what he would like the next steps to be.

He said: “I think with myself it’s like everyone else, those rules and regulations are there and just for everyone to comply with them because this is quite a serious condition to Covid.

“I think if our guys get it, I was told by my medical team that if I go on a ventilator, the likelihood is that I will never get off.

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“Fighting MND is bad enough - nevermind having to take on the Covid so we need to stay away from that.

“I’ve got a positive outlook - stay safe and we’ll party when we’re allowed.

“It’s been quite difficult because our lives have been on hold...it shows the importance of the mind.”

Weir is thankful that MND research centres will soon be able to reopen but believes that, fornow, a positive mindset is the most important thing for somebody with the disease.

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He told Good Morning Britain: "Setting up the foundation was a great thing because as your listeners may understand, MND has been around for a long while."There's only one drug that came out maybe 30 years ago and nothing has happened since, so people with MND really have no chance.

"The only drug that we do have at the moment - the best thing - is your mind and your positivity. If you've got that then you're in good shape."

Asked what he was looking forward to Doddie said: “July 4th is my 50th - three years ago when I got diagnosed I never thought I would make it.

“I’m still here and I’m going to celebrate it.”

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Joy Yates

Editorial Director

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