ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen Announces Battle With Parkinson’s

Rasmussen was able to launch his 24-hour cable sports network in 1979

ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen during the 2011 World Congress of Sports. (Marc Serota/Getty Images)
ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen during the 2011 World Congress of Sports. (Marc Serota/Getty Images)
By Evan Bleier / July 15, 2019 2:41 pm

In a post which published Monday on ESPN’s Front Row platform, network founder Bill Rasmussen revealed he is engaged in a fight with Parkinson’s Disease.

In the first-person piece, 86-year-old Rasmussen shared that he was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014 but had never disclosed it publicly until now.

“First and foremost — I’m doing well,” Rasmussen writes. “For a guy pushing 87, and with the help of medicine that helps treat my symptoms, I still get around quite well and continue to travel the country telling the ESPN/life lessons stories as I have for decades,” he writes. “I live in Seattle now with my amazing daughter, Sarah, a registered nurse and her incredible family, who have been on this journey with me and without whom this Parkinson’s mystery would be a lot harder to tackle. Now, by expanding the circle, by sharing my experiences, my hope is that I can help others who are impacted by Parkinson’s and we’ll all learn more together.”

Rasmussen, a former sports broadcaster and public relations executive, began investigating the possibility of launching a 24-hour cable sports network in 1978.

The following year on September 7th, ESPN took to the air.

“I’ll be talking a lot about PD in the weeks and months ahead – not as a victim, but as living, breathing proof that when you or a loved one hears the dreaded words, ‘You have Parkinson’s disease,’ life is not over – it’s just the beginning of a new chapter,” Rasmussen writes.

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