Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell is concerned for his future in the NHL after it was announced that he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
"I'm just uncertain," Bickell told the Chicago Tribune on Saturday. "Knowing what's next is the biggest thing. Hopefully I can get on the ice and help my team and be safe and do my job. ... Hopefully my career goes longer if I play my cards right. You're just scared for the other stage where I've been playing hockey for so long and this definitely could be it. There are roads in life, and this could take me down a different road."
Bickell's doctors told him they caught his disease early in its progression, and he is confident he'll be able to return to the Hurricanes this season. The 30-year-old is out indefinitely.
"We're already in the mix with getting treated and trying to get things stabilized and neutralized so I can get back on the ice," Bickell said. "I can't guarantee the time, but hopefully it's sooner rather than later."
Bickell detailed some of the symptoms he has experienced, including numbness in his shoulder and leg,
"Everybody knows your [own] body and what's normal, what's not normal," he said. "This was definitely not normal."
Bickell has one goal in seven games with Carolina this season, his first after he was acquired with forward Teuvo Teravainen from the Chicago Blackhawks for a second-round pick at the 2016 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2017 draft on June 15. Bickell spent parts of the previous nine seasons with Chicago. He has battled various health problems, including vertigo, since the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.