Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the team announced on Friday.
Multiple sclerosis is a rare disease that affects the central nervous system, with symptoms varying from case to case but eventually leading to nerve damage and physical impairment. There is no known cure.
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“First and foremost, the most important thing is for Bryan to take care of himself and our thoughts are with him and his family,” said Francis. “He will need to take some time to rest in the immediate future, and we will support him as he takes the necessary steps for his health. We ask that his privacy be respected during the process.”
“Since the 2015 playoffs, I've been struggling to understand what was going on with my body. Again during the past few weeks, it felt like something wasn't right,” said Bickell. “Obviously this is a bit of shock for my family and me, but I am hopeful I will be able to return to the ice and continue playing the game that I love.”
The 30-year-old Bickell has one goal in seven games this season after being acquired from Chicago via trade over the summer. He has 66 goals and 70 assists in 391 career games.
Bickell was a member of Chicago’s Stanley Cup title teams in 2010, 2013 and 2015, but was relegated to spot play at the end of his tenure due to ineffectiveness and health issues, spending time in the AHL.