USATSI_9590443_154158418_lowresCarolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the team announced on Friday. He’ll be out indefinitely.

“Since the 2015 playoffs, I’ve been struggling to understand what was going on with my body,” Bickell said. “Again during the past few weeks, it felt like something wasn’t right. 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 has one goal in seven games this season and was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in a trade in June.

This is obviously shocking news for Bickell and everyone around him. This diagnosis is no ordinary injury or setback.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of central nervous system. It attacks the protective covering of the nerves, known as myelin, and causes inflammation and damage. This interrupts nerve impulses, which can lead to disruption and symptoms like extreme fatigue, weakness, lack of coordination, impaired sensations, tingling, vision problems, bladder problems, mood changes, and cognitive impairment.

“First and foremost, the most important thing is for Bryan to take care of himself, and our thoughts are with him and his family,” Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said. “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.”

The Blackhawks drafted Bickell with the number 41 pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

“Our thoughts are with Bryan, his family and the Carolina Hurricanes during this challenging time,” Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough said. “He has built so many lasting relationships in Chicago both inside and outside of the Blackhawks organization based on his play on the ice and character off of it. Together, we will keep him in our thoughts during his fight against the disease.”

Bickell has 136 points in 391 games, including 66 goals and 70 assists. His best season to date has been a 37-point campaign in 2010-2011 with the Blackhawks.

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