Bryan Bickell Aiming for Return After MS Diagnosis

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WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 13: Klas Dahlbeck #6, Viktor Stalberg #25, Bryan Bickell #29 and Jordan Staal #11of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrate Staal's goal against the Winnipeg Jets during NHL action on October 22, 2016 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)

Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell has announced that he will indeed be returning to the lineup after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis back in early November. Bickell has not played since Oct. 30, before he started to complain of numbness in his right arm and leg and dizziness. Bickell was diagnosed on November 11 with MS, which is an unpredictable, often disabling disease in the central nervous system that eats away at the nerve fibers, disabling flow of information to and from the body and brain.

Bryan Bickell Aiming for Return After MS Diagnosis

Doctors gave Bickell a prescription for Tysabri, a medicine that is given once a month to help limit the debilitating effects of MS, and he began working out and skating in December. Ever since, he has been on a slow path back to the Canes lineup. Bickell plans to return on Feb. 17 when the Canes began a five game home stand. He is, however, up to the idea of taking extra rest if needed.

“It all depends too on what other guys are doing, if they’re going on a huge streak,” Bickell said. “I like to see them win. If they need me, I’m sure an extra week of me skating is not going to hurt me. We’re just going to wait until after the next treatment and after the bye week and go from there.” – NHL.com

Bickell’s plan to return is downright inspiring, he is the second player ever to go to return from a MS diagnosis, the first being former Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding. The journey has been rough and long, but Bickell is excited to be given a return date after such a life changing diagnosis.

“I’ve gotten a lot of texts and phone calls from family members that want to come down to see that first game when I come back,” he said. “Definitely it’s going to be special after the ups and downs that we’ve been through the last handful of months to finally get back to doing what I’ve done my whole life, to play hockey and to be in this league.” (NHL.com)

In seven games played this season for the Hurricanes, Bickell has tallied a single goal. Bickell arrived in Carolina this past off-season after spending the past nine seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. In his career, Bickell has skated in a total of 391 games, scored 66 goals, and has added 70 assists. He is a three-time Stanley Cup winner.

 

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