Goalie with Tourette Syndrome Gains International ATTENTION as Role
Signs As Goalkeeper for Manchester United
July 25, 2003 – Bayside, NY
– Tim Howard has signed with Manchester United to become goalkeeper
for the internationally renowned British soccer team. Howard, who was
diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (TS) the age of
11, has been a longtime spokesperson and supporter for the
Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA), and is very open about his
decided to make his TS known to the public in 2000, and his frankness
was a precious gift to tens of thousands of children who now look up
to him and see his success as a positive road map for their future.
His accomplishments have provided these youngsters with an ability to
see themselves as productive and worthwhile members of society.
“We are so
excited for Tim and wish him great success in this opportunity of a
lifetime,” said Judit Ungar, TSA President. “We look forward to
continuing our close relationship with Tim through his ongoing efforts
and devotion as a spokesman for the cause. He is a charitable citizen
to whom all those—with and without TS—worldwide can look to as a hero
Formerly of the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in America's Major
Soccer League, he has been active in
creating awareness and fostering education of this much misunderstood
neurological disorder. In 2001, he was named Major League Soccer
Humanitarian of the Year for his charitable efforts on behalf of TS
and continues to work closely with TSA on public service and awareness
campaigns and mentoring programs. A native of New Brunswick, New
Jersey, he hopes to one day establish his own foundation to raise
awareness about this disorder.
Howard will be honored with the “Champion of Children” Award at TSA’s
Annual Awards Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire in
in February 2004. “Just the fact that Tim got through all the
obstacles that someone with TS encounters makes him already famous in
my eyes,” said Joriel Sharp, 13, winner of the 2001 TSA Outstanding
Youth Award. “His success tells the world that those with TS have no
limits and help kids like me fight through tough times.”
“This is probably the most exciting opportunity we have ever had to
increase awareness and reduce stigma of the disorder,” said Fred Cook,
Chairman of the Board of TSA. “Tim, with his international fame, has
the ability to reach people in ways we have not been able to before.”
Howard’s TS earned more headlines than his
goalkeeping in the British press during the months leading to his
signing with Manchester United. Some papers presented a distorted view
of the disorder, referring to him as “disabled” and as “suffering from
the cursing disease.” But Howard never shied away from the negative
publicity and passionately confronted these inaccuracies to help
dispel the misconceptions and reduce stigma.
Howard has become strengthened by the courage that
TS has developed in him. "People are said to suffer from TS
and, while that is certainly true in a lot of cases, I don't feel that
way," he said. "I feel it has made me stronger and, if my position
means I can be a role model to help other people feel stronger, then
it will be a positive experience." When asked about how TS affects
him, Tim says, “Tourette's Syndrome is not a problem. It is part of my
life. It doesn't affect me one way or another on or off the field My
motto on TS is never let it be a stop sign, it’s just a speed
bump—another obstacle to overcome.”
Founded in 1972, the TSA celebrates 31 years of service to the
Tourette Syndrome community. As the only national, voluntary health
organization for people with TS, the association has a three-pronged
mission of education, research and service. TSA has 45+ chapters and
more than 300 support groups throughout the country.
Most people with TS lead productive lives and participate in all
Increased public understanding and tolerance of TS symptoms are of
paramount importance to people with this disorder.
The disorder was named for a French scientist who successfully
assessed the disorder in the late 1800s, Georges Gilles de la
TS is an inherited, neurological disorder characterized by repeated
and involuntary body movements (tics) and uncontrollable vocal sounds.
Involuntary symptoms can include eye blinking, repeated throat
clearing or sniffing, arm thrusting, kicking movements, shoulder
shrugging or jumping.
In a minority of cases, (10 to 15 percent) the vocalizations can
include socially inappropriate words and phrases—called coprolalia.
These outbursts are neither intentional nor purposeful.
Typically TS symptoms emerge before the age of 18 years and the
condition occurs in all ethnic groups.
Although the symptoms of TS vary from person to person and range from
very mild to severe, the majority of cases fall into the mild
Associated conditions can include OCD, ADHD and learning problems.
# # #
For more information, please
contact Tracy Colletti-Flynn,
Manager, Public Relations and Communications, by email
or at (718) 224-2999, ext. 236.
Return to the TSA Home Page
Bell Boulevard / Bayside NY 11361 / 718-224-2999 / ©
2000-2002 Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc.