His father, former Georgia letterman Danny Dantzler, died from ALS in February 2009, about a year and half after he was diagnosed, Watts Dantzler said.
So it was emotional for Dantzler when Georgia coach Mark Richt dumped ice water on Dantzler’s head for a video Dantzler posted to his Facebook page over the weekend. The video, shot at Georgia’s practice facility, also included Dantzler and Richt dousing Watts’ mother, Jean, his aunt, Carol Causby and Jim McCormick, a close friend of his father.
“It was special,” Dantzler said Tuesday. “I just went to my Mom and gave her a hug and we both started crying. It was definitely a special moment. Coach Richt came up and gave us both a pat on the back.”
The “Ice Bucket Challenge,” has raised more than $15 million for research for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to the Washington Post. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord,” according to the ALS Association’s website.
Katharyn Richt, wife of Mark Richt; Cindy Fox, wife of men’s basketball coach Mark Fox; and former Georgia gymnastics coach Suzanne Yoculan Leebern had their own ice baths this week.
Dantzler heard about the challenge a few weeks ago when her sister texted him about it. He said former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray challenged him and Georgia offensive lineman Hunter Long and center David Andrews.
Dantzler said he didn’t feel like doing it at the time because of the emotions of it for him.
He has a tattoo that he got when he was still at Dalton High School with ALS written on his right arm, his father’s initials and both of their jersey numbers. Danny Dantzler played offensive guard and special teams from 1971-73 at Georgia.
Dantzler said many more people know about the disease now than when his father had it.
“It’s such a terrible disease,” Dantzler said. “With everybody helping out, just tons of celebrity, the money has skyrocketed the normal donations. It’s awesome. Hopefully they can make some advancements that can do to slow it down or completely stop the disease.”