South Africa
Springboks great wheelchair bound
ESPN Staff
May 26, 2014
Former Springboks international Joost van der Westhuizen takes a lap of honour © Getty Images

Springboks and Bulls legend Joost van der Westhuizen is now wheelchair bound and unable to bathe, dress or feed himself.

Van der Westhuizen was diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND) aged 40, three-and-a-half years ago, since when his diagnoses has reached stage three of the disease, leaving him unable to care for himself. By stage four Van der Westhuizen will be bed bound.

"What I miss most is being able to eat without help," Van der Westhuizen said in the latest edition of the YOU magazine. "I can use my phone - make and receive calls and send text messages. Apart from those few things I can do nothing for myself. I can't walk at all and I can't use my arms. I always need someone to help me. I've lost 16kg and now weigh 79kg."

Van der Westhuizen is now taken care of by his brother Pieter, business partner Johan Visser or David Thorpe, the managing drector of Van der Westhuizen's J9 Foundation that helps other MND sufferers.

Van der Westhuizen recently visited fellow MND sufferer and former Sharks scrum-half Ryan Walker to provide words of encouragement. Expecting their second child in three weeks, Walker and his wife, Paula, were comforted by Van der Westhuizen and David Thorpe.

Van der Westhuizen scored 38 tries in 89 Tests for the Boks after making his international debut against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1993. He played his last Test against New Zealand in Melbourne in November in 2003.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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