Steve "Mongo" McMichael Tackles Child Illness at The Chicago Legends Golf Classic

Robert Luce

Former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Steve McMichael is no stranger to pain. After years of playing pro football, and wrestling in the WWF and WCW, it was only a matter of time before the hits and injuries he sustained caught up with him. The need for therapy eventually led him to the Illinois Back Institute, where Dr. Jeff Winternheimer and his wife Stella, showed him an affection he hadn’t experienced in his years of dealing with his assorted injuries. “Dr. Jeff developed a non-surgical, natural treatment to live pain-free,” says McMichael of the breakthrough treatment he’s been receiving. “The man has become my BFF.” This admiration led McMichael to become part of the Chicago Legends Golf Classic benefiting Mike Ditka's Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund and the Dr. Jeff Foundation for terminally ill children taking place on Monday, September 19 at the Hilton Indian Lakes Resort (250 W. Schick, 630.529.0200) in Bloomingdale. Along with McMichael, attendees will have the chance to golf with Bob Love, Bo Jackson, Kevin Butler and Dan Hampton among others. “In this profession there’s passion, but where can you find compassion,” says McMichael of the Illinois Back Institute’s capable doctors. “These people are givers and that’s why I’ve fallen in love with them.”

What makes the The Dr. Jeff Foundation special is that it works with Normal Moments Inc.—an organization dedicated to helping parents with critically ill children enjoy as many normal moments as possible as they deal with their child’s illness. “Normal Moments is the immediate benefit,” says McMichael. “It’s like Make-A-Wish, but it’s not just for the kid, it’s for the parents, too.” Normal Moments helps ease the burden set on parents of critically ill children allowing them to spend more time with their kids. “Can you imagine just what fifteen minutes of relief means to somebody,” says McMichael. “Seeing the smile on a terminally ill child’s face is a blessing.”

It’s no wonder then that the College Football Hall of Fame inductee enjoys being head coach of the Chicago Slaughter indoor football team. “It’s a fun and relatively inexpensive day out with your family to watch a Chicago sports team,” beams McMichael of his championship team. “You’re closer to the action and you can reach out and touch the players.” But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see the Bears win the NFC Championship Game and go to the Super Bowl—since it would be an immediate benefit to his restaurant, Mongo McMichael’s, in Romeoville. “I told Lovie Smith I’m dispelling this rumor that the ’85 Bears won’t let you win the Super Bowl, because when they get there, my restaurant is going to make a ton of money,” laughs McMichael. “So I told Lovie I expect him to go to the Super Bowl every year.”

With a host of Chicago luminaries at his side—coupled with dinner, cocktails and a live auction—McMichael promises the Chicago Legends Golf Classic will spawn plenty of Chicago memories. “Mike Adamle is going to be doing the live auction, and Dan Hampton and myself have always had fun messing with him,” smiles McMichael. “So I promise it’ll be a rowdy dinner.” But when it comes down to it, it’s all about raising money for the kids. “We need to always remember scriptures like, ‘I am my brother’s keeper’”, says McMichael. “When we stop taking care of each other like all the great civilizations before ours did, then that’s when things will all go to shit.”

For more on the Chicago Legends Golf Classic visit Chicagolegendsgolfclassic.com.