‘I did not create my life’: Super Bowl champion with ALS speaks against Maryland’s assisted suicide bill

'Since being diagnosed, I have done a greater good for society in eight years, than in my 37 years on earth.'
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Former NFL player O.J. Brigance
Dustin Siggins By Dustin Siggins

Dustin Siggins By Dustin Siggins

BALTIMORE, MD, March 13, 2015 ( – More than a dozen states are currently considering bills to legalize assisted suicide, and the deadly practice is already legal in four states. But according to Super Bowl winner O.J. Brigance, who was diagnosed with the debilitating illness ALS eight years ago, a bill currently debated in the Maryland legislature should go down in flames.

"I did not create my life, so I have no right to negate my life,” Brigance said in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Since being diagnosed, I have done a greater good for society in eight years, than in my 37 years on earth.”

“Because I decided to live life the best I could, there has been a ripple effect of goodness in the world.”

In written testimony, the former football player said the law would “devalue the lives and possible future contributions of Marylanders.”

Brigance, who works as a senior advisor for the Baltimore Ravens after winning a Super Bowl with the team, founded the Brigance Brigade Foundation after his ALS diagnosis in 2007. A Christian, his organization provides grants to help ALS-afflicted people to have higher quality lives.

Mary Ellen Russell of the Maryland Catholic Conference also provided written testimony against the so-called “Death with Dignity Act,” according to Catholic News Agency.

“There is no life that we consider not worth living, no person who does not deserve to be valued simply because they are a living human being," Russell said. “Our concerns about the bill are shared by numerous other groups, including members of the medical community, disability groups, advocates for vulnerable elders and others.”

“We wish also to convey our deep dismay about the message this legislation sends to those who might feel that their illness and the care they require is nothing more than a burden to their families and the rest of society.”

The four U.S. states that have legalized assisted-suicide are Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Lawmakers in Colorado voted down a "Death With Dignity" law last month.

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