Goalie with Multiple Sclerosis

News broke in late November that NHL player Josh Harding, goalie for the Minnesota Wild, has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) but hopes to stay on the ice. MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system and is so far incurable. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, MS causes a variety of different symptoms among those diagnosed some debilitate mobility to the point that they require the assistance of orthotics to help regain function, sometimes flaring up and subsiding even for years. It is not contagious.

Common symptoms include fatigue, numbness, disrupted vision, bladder incontinence and challenges with mobility. The severity of the symptoms can vary drastically and even seem to disappear for long periods of time. When mobility is affected custom orthotics can be used

Multiple Sclerosis Doesn’t Discriminate

As in the case of professional hockey player Harding, just 28, MS can strike the healthiest of people in the prime of life. There are an estimated 400,000 Americans living with MS, the majority of whom are diagnosed between the age of 15 and 50. It is most often diagnosed in young adults.

Though Harding kept his diagnosis a secret for several weeks before going public, he has said he is determined to keep playing and doesn’t want anyone to pity him.

Born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, Harding signed a new three-year deal for $5.7 million last summer that keeps him with the Wild in Minnesota through 2015.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis

Harding is determined to move past his diagnosis and focus on his goal of being the best goalie of the Minnesota Wild. In 34 games last season Harding went 13-12-4 with a 2.62 goals-against average and two shutouts.

The problem with MS is that it is a very unpredictable disease. Many people diagnosed with MS may see their physical fitness decline, but then rebound. There could be weeks, months or even years between relapses of MS symptoms. There are long-term treatments approved to help manage relapsing forms of MS.

Orthotics Help Manage Mobility

Custom orthotics can help anyone who needs to manage MS symptoms that affect mobility. Orthotics are specially designed inserts for footwear that can increase stability, decrease muscle fatigue as well as muscle stiffness and spasms. For more severe leg muscle weakness, leg braces may help to stabilize and support movement.

In Traverse City orthotics are available at Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics located in downtown Traverse City. Custom orthotics are also available in Grand Rapids, Petoskey, Cadillac as well as at 17 other Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics locations throughout Michigan.