Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding has revealed that he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune and confirmed by GM Chuck Fletcher.
MS is an incurable, degenerative disease that affects the cells in the brain and spinal cord. Individuals with the disease can develop problems with balance, coordination, vision, and muscle spasms. The prevalence rate for MS is between two and 150 per 10,000 people.
This is yet another obstacle for Harding to overcome, after tearing his ACL and MCL and missing the entire 2010-11 season. He bounced back nicely last year.
Harding says he decided to publicly announce his diagnosis now so that it does not become a distraction for the team whenever they get back to playing games. MS is treatable with medication, and the hope is that with the proper treatment, it will not affect his play.
“Even if it changes one person’s life to show that I’m not letting this come between me and my goals, that would be awesome,” said Harding.
Several Wild players have sent out supportive and encouraging tweets:
Thoughts and prayers with Hards , oneof the best guys I know! #ToughasNails #Hards
— Matt Hackett (@MattHackett31) November 29, 2012
Thoughts and prayers go out to Josh Harding. He will battle through this! Great guy, better teammate! #PrayForHarding
— Jason Zucker (@Jason_Zucker16) November 29, 2012
Harding’s positive approach and determination to be an inspiration to others is truly commendable. He is also very loyal to the Wild, as he decided to sign a contract extension with the club this past offseason instead of seeking other opportunities through free agency.
Many people can live long and healthy lives despite having MS, including: FOX News’ Neil Cavuto, Jonathan Katz, Jack Osbourne, Ann Romney, and Montel Williams.