(CBS) Hurricanes forward Bickell, who was a part of three Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks teams, has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, his team announced Friday afternoon.
The 30-year-old Bickell suffered from what doctors believed to be vertigo in 2015, then was later called an ocular issue.
“Since the 2015 playoffs, I’ve been struggling to understand what was going on with my body,” Bickell said in a statement. “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.”
Facing a salary cap crunch, the Blackhawks traded Bickell along with youngster Teuvo Teravainen to the Hurricanes in mid-June.
Bickell was a member of championship teams in Chicago in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He played some of the best hockey of his career in the 2013 playoffs, when his 17 points in 23 games were instrumental in the Blackhawks’ title.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Bickell has played in seven games for Carolina this season. He hasn’t played since Oct. 30.
Better known as MS, multiple sclerosis is an “immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves,” according to nationalmssociety.com.