(CBS) – Chicago Bears legends Jim McMahon and Mike Ditka were back together Thursday – a bit older and wiser about the game that made them famous, at a price.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov was there for the reunion.
Coach Ditka and celebrated quarterback McMahon posed for pictures and mingled with guests at the gala for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. McMahon was a guest of honor and recipient of the foundation’s Spirit of Courage Award.
The organization focuses on spinal cord injuries, which often result from head and neck injuries. That’s something McMahon is familiar with. He has been open about his early onset dementia, the result of vicious hits on the field.
“Da Coach” says he was all too happy to support McMahon.
“He’s a good guy, and I hope right now he doesn’t get any worse than he is,” Ditka says.
Ditka, too, has been vocal about sports injury awareness and post-football care for players.
Active in their causes, both appreciate the fan adoration that still comes their way.
A big question on everyone’s mind: Does Ditka think the Bears have a shot this year?
“I don’t think anyone’s going to catch Green Bay in the division, but the Bears have a chance,” he said.
Both Ditka and McMahon believe the NFL and the public have gotten much better at recognizing and treating head and neck injuries.
The foundation has funneled more than $150 million toward programs and research of spinal cord traumas.
Also honored by the Reeve Foundation Thursday was Geoff Kent, founder of the organization Spinal Cord Injury Sucks.