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'Courageous' Bob Jones bringing awareness on ALS

The first signs of ALS are muscle twitching and weakness in a limb, or slurred speech. Ultimately, ALS affects control of the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. There is no cure.
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Ottawa senators captain Brady Tkachuk and assistant coach Bob Jones.

The Ottawa Senators revealed on Jan. 24 that assistant coach Bob Jones has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Jones, 53, is in his fourth season as an assistant with the Senators and first noticed physical symptoms in November and following a series of tests, the ALS diagnosis was confirmed last month. 

While players have known about the situation for weeks, the club went public with the news at Jones’ courageous request, in the hope that it may help others dealing with ALS, or facilitate more medical research. Jones will continue to work with the Senators but is free to take “any time he needs away from the club during the season to concentrate on his health and his family,” as general manager (GM) Pierre Dorion noted in a statement. 

"Each day, there are three to four people in Canada that will receive an ALS diagnosis," said Tammy Moore, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the ALS Society of Canada, told The Sam Laprade Show on Jan. 25. "That's roughly 1,000 people a year that are diagnosed in this country."

She called Jones courageous for revealing his diagnosis.

Jones and his family have received an outpouring of support and well wishes since the announcement was made, from people within and outside the hockey world. 

"Bob is helping raise awareness, and this also helps Bob and his family know that they aren't alone," she added. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, ALS is a progressive disease of the nervous system that impacts nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control. There is no known cause, although heredity can play a factor. 

The first signs of ALS are muscle twitching and weakness in a limb, or slurred speech. Ultimately, ALS affects control of the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. There is no cure. 

"The disease progresses quite differently in people," said Moore. "Some people will have a rapid onset. I was just speaking with someone who had a loved one passed away within four months and yet I was just on a call with somebody who has lived more than eight years and someone else in our community had lived more than 25 years. That's part of the challenge with ALS. It manifests itself differently in so many people."

Listen to the full interview with Tammy Moore below: 

With files from Wayne Scanlan. 

 

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