Football and baseball legend Bo Jackson says he’s battled hiccups for nearly a year

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Oncoming defenders on the football field and outfield walls on the baseball field couldn’t stop Bo Jackson, but the two-sport sensation has finally met his match: hiccups.

The former Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Raiders star, 60, says he has had the hiccups for nearly a year. The ailment caused him to miss a recent ceremony honoring fellow Auburn University star Frank Thomas, he said May 10 on “McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning” on WJOX-FM in Birmingham, Alabama.

“I’ve had the hiccups since last July and I’m getting a medical procedure done the end of this week, I think, to try to remedy it,” he said.

MLB Photos Archive (Rich Pilling / MLB Photos via Getty Images)
MLB Photos Archive (Rich Pilling / MLB Photos via Getty Images)

“But I’m busy at the hospital sitting up with doctors poking me and shining lights down my throat, and probing me every way they can to find out why I’ve got these hiccups, so that’s the only reason that I wasn’t there.”

Jackson was emphatic when asked if anyone has come up with a reason why he has the hiccups or if there’s any cure.

“Hell, no,” he said.

“I have done everything: scare me, drink water upside down, smell the a-- of a porcupine. It doesn’t work,” he said, as the hosts laughed.

Hiccups can be classified in one of three ways, according to an article from the British Journal of General Practice posted on the National Institutes of Health's website.

“Depending on their duration, hiccups are classified as transient hiccups (episodes lasting seconds or minutes), persistent hiccups (longer than 48 hours), and recurrent hiccups (episodes of hiccups more lasting than transient and often with frequent repetition),” the the article states.

To find out what causes hiccups, the article recommends “a thorough clinical history, asking about smoking and drug misuse, and drugs, gastrointestinal symptoms (heartburn, dysphagia, regurgitation, or abdominal pain), cardiorespiratory symptoms (chest pain, cough, or dyspnoea), and neurological symptoms (headache, diplopia, dizziness, or abnormal sensitivity).”

Bo Jackson (Mike Powell / Getty Images)
Bo Jackson (Mike Powell / Getty Images)

The article also says patients should undergo a physical exam and, when necessary, a battery of tests, such as a blood test, chest X-ray, ECG, gastroscopy, abdominal CT and cranial MRI.

Jackson is considered to be one of the greatest athletes in history, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1985 as the best player in college football. He would later star as a running back with the Los Angeles Raiders for four years, while also playing Major League Baseball as an outfielder with the Royals, Chicago White Sox and California Angels for eight seasons. His playing career in both sports was cut short after he suffered a hip injury during a playoff game with the Raiders in 1991.

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