Elway opens up about 15-year battle with hand condition

Field Level Media

August 22, 2019 at 9:41 pm.

John Elway appeared on NBC’s “Today” on Thursday to raise awareness for Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition that prevents curled fingers from being straightened.

Elway, the Denver Broncos president of football operations and general manager, was diagnosed with the condition 15 years ago, well after the Hall of Fame quarterback’s 16-year career had ended.

“When I saw my hand doctor, the only option was surgery,” Elway said. “I wasn’t interested in more surgeries. I’ve had so many surgeries during my playing career. At that point in time I didn’t want to have another one.”

Elway, who retired following the 1998 season, recently underwent a non-surgical treatment to attempt to straighten his fingers.

Elway, 59, admitted that he wasn’t sure if his football career either caused or contributed to his condition. He’s not alone, since experts are uncertain as to what causes Dupuytren’s contracture.

“It’s a rather common condition, and a lot of people do have it, but they don’t get it diagnosed,” Elway said of the condition that may affect 16 million Americans.

“If anyone is concerned they might have it, they should go see a hand specialist. If you’re diagnosed with it, I want people to realize that there are options to treat it.”

Per the Mayo Clinic, Dupuytren’s contracture “affects a layer of tissue that lies under the skin of your palm. Knots of tissue form under the skin — eventually creating a thick cord that can pull one or more fingers into a bent position.”