FOOTBALL

Notre Dame legend Lujack returning home

Bob Wieneke
South Bend Tribune

Former Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack will be released from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on Monday after an extended stay, family members wrote in an email Sunday night.

The 89-year-old Lujack was flown from the Quad Cities to the Mayo late last month and underwent decompression (laminectomy) surgery. The surgery entailed removing some bones from the spine and inserting metal rods and screws to support the upper spine near the head. Lujack's daughter, Mary, wrote in the email that five weeks ago her father was "extremely close to paralysis." She said that her father will need to use a walker at first until he feels more confident, and that one of his many goals is to get back in his golf cart and watch the players at a nearby club. "His return to home, I'm sure, will be a challenge," she wrote, "but like everything he has experienced in the last five weeks he is a fighter and he can do this."

Former Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack, 89, continues to recover following surgery in late July. (Photo courtesy of Notre Dame)