John Driskell Hopkins of Zac Brown Band Opens Up About ALS Diagnosis

by Chris Haney
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On Tuesday morning, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of the Zac Brown Band, John Driskell Hopkins, gave his first interview since announcing his ALS diagnosis. The musician joined Good Morning America today where he opened up about revealing his diagnosis to the world.

While speaking to the hosts of GMA, Hopkins spoke about having anxiety for the first time in his life over his diagnosis. Yet he also called himself “blessed” to have an amazing support group around him, including his friends, family, and the band.

“I don’t believe that I’ve ever truly had anxiety until this,” John Driskell Hopkins said of having ALS on GMA. “I’m super blessed to have this many incredible people lifting me up and it makes it better. It makes me feel less worried and far less anxious. I’ve sort of shaken the anxiety.”

As their conversation continued, Hopkins shared further details about the symptoms he’s dealing with. He’s having to take things easy compared to before and is moving slightly slower than normal. His speech is also starting to falter, but he has some days that are better than others.

“I’m starting to slur,” he explained. “Right now, I feel pretty good today, but I can’t jump up from the chair and run down the hallway, or I’d fall. I’m wearing half my costume all night because it takes me a little longer to button things and I can’t jog down the hall after everyone else.”

John Driskell Hopkins Explains How ALS Is Impacting His Music

During the same ALS conversation, John Driskell Hopkins talked about how ALS is affecting his music career. The talented artist sings in the Zac Brown Band, plays multiple instruments, and writes songs. While speaking on GMA, Hopkins said music will always be a part of his life. Plus, he plans to play music as long as he can, however he can.

“If I can’t pick up a guitar, then maybe I can program one,” Hopkins said. “I don’t think music will ever not be a part of my life. Even if it’s just making a mixtape.”

While Hopkins faced anxiety for the first time in his life over his ALS diagnosis, he’s still hopeful. He referenced the fact that medical technologies continue to make progress. Scientists continue to research and attempt to come up with a cure for the progressive neurodegenerative disease. There is no cure yet unfortunately, but Hopkins is staying positive.

“There’s a lot of hope in this and there’s a lot of wonderful technology on the horizon,” he said. “Amazing things happening all over the country and all over the world to eradicate this and to heal motor neurons.”

In Hopkins’ initial announcement with his band surrounding him, he revealed his ALS diagnosis to his fans. However, the musician said he’s confident that he’ll be performing with his band for “years to come.”

“Because my symptoms have been slow-progressing from the start, we believe they will continue to be slow progressing going forward. God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come,” Hopkins said in a clip posted to the band’s Instagram account.

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