Former New York Giants head coach and two-time Super Bowl winner Tom Coughlin announced in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday that his wife, Judy, is battling progressive supranuclear palsy, an incurable brain disease that “erodes an individual’s ability to walk, speak, think and control body movements.”
“Our hearts are broken,” Coughlin wrote. “Judy has been everything to our family. For the past four years, we’ve helplessly watched her go from a gracious woman with a gift for conversation, hugging all the people she met and making them feel they were the most important person in the room, to losing almost all ability to speak and move.”
Coughlin’s wife of 54 years, Judy quickly endeared herself to Giants players and fans alike as she was never far from Tom’s side; whether it was taking care of NFLers like they were her own children or her work with the Jay Fund — a foundation started by the Coughlins to combat childhood cancer.
“I am not seeking sympathy. It’s the last thing I want,” Coughlin wrote. “It’s the last thing that most caregivers want. Taking care of Judy is a promise I made 54 years ago when she was crazy enough to say ‘I do.’ I do want the players I coached in college and in the NFL who thought all my crazy ideas about discipline, commitment and accountability ended when they left the field to know that is not the case.
“The truth is that is when those qualities matter most. A friend said we don’t get to choose our sunset, and that’s true, but I am so blessed to get to hold Judy’s hand through hers.”