NHL Star Bryan Bickell Retires - Diagnosed with MS

People need Long Term Health Care due to illnesses, accidents or the impact of aging. MS is one condition that can cause LTC creating a physical, emotional and financial burden on family.

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NHL Star Bryan Bickell Retires - Diagnosed with MS
4 Min Read November 13th, 2016 Updated:October 15th, 2020

Bryan Bickell was an NHL star and member of the 2015 Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks. His career was cut short in 2016 when he retired from the NHL after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. 

He was 30 years old when he announced his retirement from the NHL Carolina Hurricanes. Bickell had health issues going back to his time with the Blackhawks. The Hurricanes announced his MS diagnosis on November 11, 2016, shocking players and fans.

He retired but left on a high note. On April 9, 2017, he scored in a shootout as the Hurricanes beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. His teammates wore his number 29 in their final two regular-season games in his honor. See CNN story here.

See Chicago Tribune story

Multiple sclerosis is a rare disease that affects the central nervous system, with symptoms varying from case to case but eventually leading to nerve damage and physical impairment. There is no known cure. Many people with MS end up requiring help with normal activities of daily living (ADL’s) and requiring them to need extended care with those ADL’s.

"Since the 2015 playoffs, I've been struggling to understand what was going on with my body. 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.”

Brian Bickell, NHL star

MS is a "spectrum disease" that can present mild to disabling symptoms in different patients. Life expectancy is near normal; however, the impact on independence generally is the biggest concern.

Bryan and Amanda Bickell Foundation Service Dog Program

Bickell created a foundation to help those living with MS. Learn more about his family foundation.

The foundation's latest program benefits people living with Multiple Sclerosis by providing them free of charge, a fully trained service dog. 

Trained service dogs can cost around $20,000 each. A specially trained service dog provides assistance in helping those with MS achieve a greater level of mobility and independence. 

Learn more about the foundation's service dog program.

Symptoms of MS Usually Start Young

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) tend to have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40. Usually, the symptoms get better but then come back. Some may come and go, while others linger.

The early symptoms of MS include:

• Blurred or double vision

 Thinking problems

 Clumsiness or a lack of coordination

 Loss of balance



 Weakness in an arm or leg

No two people have the same symptoms of MS. This can make a diagnosis more difficult, especially early in the disease. People with MS often say they feel like "pins and needles" sensation. They may also have numbness, itching, burning, stabbing, or tearing pains. About half of people with MS have these uncomfortable symptoms.

About 8 in 10 people have bladder problems as well. A person may need to urinate more often, need to go at night, or have trouble emptying your bladder fully. Bowel problems, especially constipation, are also common.

MS and Mobility Problems

Mobility issues end up being the main reason people with MS need Long-Term Care. MS can cause muscle weakness or spasms, which makes it more challenging to walk. Balance problems, numb feet, and fatigue can also make walking more difficult. Often people with MS may suffer from falls, especially as they get older and the MS progresses.

The cost of custodial care for a person with MS can be high. As it progresses, a person may need home-care in addition to any care a family member may provide. As a person ages, it becomes challenging for family members to be caregivers. Generally, a person will move into a facility like assisted living or, in extreme situations, a nursing home. Health insurance and later, once a person is 65, Medicare will not pay for most of these costs.

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator can give you both the current and future cost of long-term care services where you live.

The financial costs and burdens placed on a family can negatively impact a family. The consequences of a long-term care event will impact family and finances. No matter if the extended care is caused by MS, other diseases, accidents, or just aging, it impacts a family's assets and income and creates emotional and physical burdens on those you love.

Since these health events can happen at any age, having a plan that includes Long-Term Care Insurance is an affordable way to safeguard your 401k, IRA, and other savings while easing the family's burden.

Most people are not professional athletes who have substantial savings and investments. However, even those who do could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars unless a plan is in place. 

There is no doubt your health, body, and mind will undergo changes in the decades ahead. There are many reasons people require long-term health care, including for just getting older. Planning is essential to enjoying a successful future retirement. 


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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

Being prepared for future changes in your health, body, and mind is a vital part of retirement planning. The costs and related burdens that long-term health care places on your family and finances can change your lifestyle, adversely impact your income and assets, and put a tremendous burden on your loved ones. 

Planning for aging should happen before you retire, ideally in your 40s or 50s. For many families, Long-Term Care Insurance is an easy and affordable solution.

With a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, you will have access to your choice of quality care, including care at home. You will not have to depend on your family and give your loved ones the time to be family instead of caregivers. 

However, long-term care services are expensive and getting even more costly every year Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News. An LTC policy offers you guaranteed tax-free benefits that will safeguard your assets. 

Find a Specialist

Using a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will save you money and give you peace of mind. LTC Insurance products can be complicated, and premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. A specialist, who works with the top companies, can compare and shop, so you have the best coverage at the lowest cost. 

There is no cost to the consumer to use a specialist. Planning for long-term care is not the job of a financial advisor or general insurance agent. Keep in mind that many agents or advisors may call themselves specialists but still lack the experience necessary to provide accurate quotes and professional recommendations. 

Be sure the "specialist" works with the top companies, not just one or two. Ensure they understand all available options, including traditional (and Partnership certified plans), asset-based hybrid plans, and limited duration short-term plans. 

Ask the agent or advisor how many clients they personally have helped with long-term care planning. If it is less than 300, they are not really a specialist. Top specialists have helped thousands of clients with long-term care planning.

How many claims have they processed? Do they fully understand the underwriting rules every company has in place? Can they give you accurate quotes right away - or do they have to have a back-office complete the task?

Find a trusted and experienced specialist - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Planning Tools Available on LTC NEWS

You can compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.

The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area. There are also available tax incentives. See if these tax incentives are helpful - Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Looking for Quality Caregivers? Need Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim?

If a loved one already needs in-home care or owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and needs assistance filing the claim, LTC NEWS is here to help.

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News. You can also help find caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not.

 Benefits of Reverse Mortgages

There are many people today that have much of their savings invested in their home. With today's reverse mortgages, you can use the money in your home to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, add retirement income, or even pay for in-home care if you need care now. 

Learn more now - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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