Cooper Out For Gator Bowl
Freshman diagnosed with rare disease
December 17, 2001

BLACKSBURG - Virginia Tech linebacker Chad Cooper will miss the Toyota Gator Bowl after being diagnosed with a rare disease Monday morning. Head athletic trainer Mike Goforth has reported that Cooper, a redshirt freshman, was taken Sunday morning to Montgomery Regional Hospital with mono-like symptoms.

Tests came back positive for mononucleosis, but Cooper started developing tingling sensations in his hands and feet along with several other mild neurological symptoms. Monday morning, Cooper was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré (Ghee-yan Bah-ray) Syndrome. It is a relatively rare inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves, especially the spinal nerves that control your arms and legs, but also the cranial nerves in certain cases. It is characterized by the rapid onset of weakness and sometimes paralysis of the legs, arms, breathing muscles and face.Abnormal sensations often accompany the weakness.

The cause of this disease is unknown, but nearly 50 percent of cases occur shortly after a microbial(viral or bacterial) infection such as a sore throat or even gastroenteritis. Goforth said Cooper has experienced all of the common symptoms such as fever, nausea and muscular weakness.

Goforth said that there is no treatment for this disorder, but that it is only temporary and the prognosis for full recovery is good. Cooper will be transported to Fairfax Hospital where his family and family physician are located. He will miss the Jan. 1, 2002 game against Florida State, but is expected to recover for next year.

Cooper is listed as a linebacker, but made most of his contributions on special teams this year. The Herndon, Va., native played in all 11 games, recording two solo tackles, nine assists and a fumble recovery.

For more information on the disease, go to www.guillain-barre.com