Cause of Lou Gehrig's death questioned

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Some Minnesota lawmakers hope to force the release of Lou Gehrig's medical records, saying they might provide insight into whether the Yankees star died of the disease that came to take his name or whether repetitive head trauma played some kind of role.

Their effort comes despite opposition from the Mayo Clinic, which holds the records, and skepticism from experts that the records alone would prove anything.

Gehrig's death at age 37 is attributed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a debilitating neurological disease that after his death in 1941 became commonly known by his name.

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Rep. Phyllis Kahn, a Minneapolis Democrat, said she became intrigued after reading about a widely publicized study in 2010 that suggested a potential link between repetitive brain trauma in athletes and ALS.

She said Gehrig suffered several concussions during his career and that he played football at Columbia University. It would be useful to know what Gehrig's records say, she said.

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