Anthony “Spice” Adams, born June 18, 1980, is a retired professional football player. He played for the San Francisco 49ers from 2003-2006, and then signed as an unrestricted free agent to the Chicago Bears from 2007-2011. Sports authorities have named Adams “the greatest NFL free agent in the history of football.”
Adams was first diagnosed with gout – an extremely painful form of inflammatory arthritis caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints – when he was 25-years-old, but did not know what was happening. He woke up one morning and was unable to bend his knee, but brushed the pain aside, thinking it was normal wear and tear from the football season.
Occasional flare-ups continued and Adams was officially diagnosed with gout after returning from a break during the Bears’ 2009 season. He was in excruciating pain. “Before I even came back for the season, I had to be put on the injury report – it was just so painful,” Adams said. “I felt like I sprained my foot and couldn’t even get up and walk around.”
When Adams was diagnosed with gout at the age of 29, he believed he was too young to suffer from the disease. While gout typically affects men over the age of 40, Adams was in prime condition for his athletic career. But because gout is connected with so many other risk factors, it can affect anyone at any time – even professional athletes like Adams.
After his diagnosis, Adams worked with the team’s athletic trainer to learn more about gout and what he could do to prevent future flares. He now takes a daily uric acid lowering medication in order to help keep his serum uric acid (sUA) level below 6.0 mg/dL. He also has learned to avoid foods that may trigger his gout, such as red meat.
“This is not something that is always easy to do, but I know that it’s important to reduce gout flares and protect my health for the future,” said Adams.
On Gout Awareness Day in 2015, Adams participated in a satellite media tour (SMT), alongside gout specialist and Gout Education Society board member, Dr. Brian Mandell, to help raise awareness about gout – an often mistreated and misdiagnosed disease – and the importance of regular sUA monitoring.