THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL

Every now and then a story comes along that serves to remind us there’s more to life and living it than winning or losing hockey games. Brent Peterson’s courageous battle against the devastating ravages of Parkinson’s disease is one of those stories.

Peterson, 53, a former member of the Edmonton Oil Kings, was forced to step down as a member of Barry Trotz’s coaching staff with the Nashville Predators last April because of the disease.

Diagnosed with Parkinson`s in 2004, Peterson, who played 620 NHL games with Detroit, Buffalo, Vancouver and Hartford, put his career on the back-burner last April as the debilitating effects of the disease took over.

For those of you not familiar with Peterson`s story, you can find one account of it here.

Peterson is a terrific guy, a hockey man with a real mind for the game and somebody Jim Matheson of The Journal and I, a lot of travelling beat writers for that matter, would seek out when we were in Music City. Petey would fill our notebooks with insightful, thoughtful takes on the game.

AMAZING RESULTS

In recent weeks, Peterson has been undergoing a therapy known as deep brain stimulation at Vanderbilt in Nashville and the results he`s seen are nothing less than stunning.

So, take two minutes and 40 seconds away from contemplating the Oilers losing streak, trading Ales Hemsky, worrying about how lousy you`re doing in your hockey pool and have a look. You`ll be glad you did.

Here, courtesy of Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck, is a link to the video.

For those of you out there with friends or loved ones who have battled this disease, you will understand just how amazing the early results of Peterson`s treatments are.

The game of hockey and having a passion for it is a wonderful aside to our daily existence, but real-life stories like the one playing out for Peterson serve to remind us what really matters — health, family and friends.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • The Farmer

    I have lost two grandparents and my great grandma to complications from Parkinson’s. It is terrible to watch your loved ones suffer from a slow and for them, frustrating disease. It is encouraging that they are getting close to a cure. My grandpa died 6 years ago on boxing day. Thanks for the story Brownlee. Helping raise awareness is always great.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Wow! modern health sciences! amazing stuff.

    53 huh? man that seems young. I hope the procedure pans out long term… I wonder if it would have any impact for other brain related diseases. Alzheimer’s and dementia come to mind.

    tragedy and triumph all rolled into one amazing story. Thanks Brownlee!

  • Hemmertime

    Damn you RB, just as we’re all getting our rage on you have to come in and put sh*t in perspective and make all our first world problems look so insignificant.

    Inspiring too.

  • Hemmertime

    Robin, thanks for picking up this story and linking back to my site. Just one note, the name of the site is “On The Forecheck”, not “Nashville Predators News”.

    Coach Peterson’s story is a remarkable one, especially considering his continuing efforts to raise awareness and research funding to further our understanding of this disease.

  • Brings a tear to my eye, my Father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years before his retirement in 97. I showed him the video and it gives him some sense of hope and promise to cure this dreadful disease. Thanks for sharing RB!

    • The advancements are remarkable. This disease took one of my uncles many years ago and there was nothing like this therapy available then. You might want to inquire if this treatment is available here to help your dad. I haven’t had time to check.

  • I won’t get too much into it but from what I’ve been told the doctors here are focused more into shoving pills and staying away from the radical treatments which my father has been considering for some time now. We’ll check when the doctors next available appointment is in 4 months…..

  • My mom passed away last night with me and my sis by her side
    at home after a brutal battle with the monster lung cancer.
    She was an oilers fan. My fan mostly. I love u mom and will
    be with you again.

    Not forum for my sad story i know, its just nice to hear
    some good news regarding another nasty disease.
    Go Brent Go !

    MAC962

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    today must be one of those tug at the heart strings days. i struggle through the tsn piece ( http://watch.tsn.ca/clip589835#clip589835 ) and then stumble over to the ‘nation expecting some good ole’ fashioned horcoff bashing and i get another dose reminding why real life trumps hockey life 11 times out of 10. Thank you brownlee.

    @MAC962- it isnt often i am lost for words around here. seeing someone lose a mom during the holiday season is something i cant even begin to fathom. sorry for your loss.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    And this is if not the reason, it’s damn close to why Oilers Nation is the best hockey site out there!

    I love the humanity pieces both you and Jason do Robin, please don’t stop.

  • Release the Hounds

    @Mac962 most sincere condolences to you and your family on the loss of your dear mom.

    If flowers grow in heaven Lord, then pick a bunch for me. Place them in my Mom’s arms and tell her they’re from me. Tell her that I love and miss her, and when she turns to smile… Place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for a while.

  • DaveChamp

    I dated his niece and I can say that he is one of the nicest guys I have met. He took my brother to meet the Preds on two or three occasions and never acted puffed up about it. It was really sad when he had to step away from hockey but his family but I hope he can get back into it in the future.

  • DaveChamp

    To All the ON Reader that gave their condolences and best wishes
    regarding the loss of my dear Mom. I Thank you.
    Merry Christmas and All the Best to you and your Familys.
    All i can say is cherish every damn minute you have with those
    you love.

  • Dan the Man

    I as well have a father who was diagnosed with Parkinsons 2 years ago. It is a difficult and painful thing to watch someone you love slowly deteriorate. I am grateful for this article and have forwarded it to the old man. Have a great xmas everyone.

  • Clarence Oveur

    Inspiring and incredible story.

    As soon as I read “Vanderbilt” in this article, I knew it would involve something miraculous. That medical center (and University as a whole) is one of the shining beacons of the United States.

    Thanks for posting this, Robin.