Bryan Bickell recalls darkest days before M.S. diagnosis


Pieces in The Players’ Tribune are often great because of how deep players go, and sometimes, how specific they get.

Bryan Bickell recounted his battle with M.S. – and particularly dealing with the uncertainty before the diagnosis, and the emotions he experienced when his wife Amanda found out – in a great piece today.

His firsthand account definitely made those times seem frightening and uncertain:

By the conference finals, I was beside myself. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Game 5 was my breaking point. I took a hit into the boards early in the third period and I couldn’t catch my breath, even after I got to the bench. I eventually huffed and puffed back to the locker room before I fainted, right there in the doorway. I fell face-first into a wall on my way down. I’m honestly lucky I still had my helmet on.

When I came to, the first thing I saw was the trainer, hovering over me with smelling salts.

“I think you need to see a doctor.”

As he mentioned, Bickell pointed to Game 5  of the 2015 Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks as the moment when things really got bad for him. He couldn’t even fully enjoy the Chicago Blackhawks’ eventual Stanley Cup win that year.

On the bright side, Bickell’s NHL career had a happy ending … almost a storybook one, as he scored this shootout goal with the Carolina Hurricanes:

Bickell also made that emotional NHL Awards speech with his wife Amanda, who he clearly can still have fun with, even amid all of these challenges:

The Players’ Tribune story is well worth a read, and not just because it really cements how great a moment that was for Bickell. Check it out here.