HAMILTON, N.Y. -- Mike Campaner, a senior defenseman on the Colgate University hockey team, revealed Thursday that he suffers from multiple sclerosis but has no plans to quit playing the game.
"I feel great and am back to normal health," said Campaner, 24. "I want to tell my story because I want to give hope to others who are diagnosed with MS -- that they will be able to live a normal life and accomplish any goals that they set for themselves."
Campaner was diagnosed in November after pulling himself out of a game against Dartmouth.
"I was devastated," Campaner said. "I knew it was a crippling
disease. Most people end up in a wheelchair. I didn't know what to do."
MS is an unpredictable disease with no known cure that causes
the body's immune system to attack nerve tissue. Scar tissue forms on the nerves, scrambling impulses that control muscles. It can leave people tired and numb, with poor coordination, blurred vision and loss of muscle control. Some have one attack and never experience another, or go years before a second. Others end up becoming more disabled.
Campaner underwent a series of tests and missed nine games while his condition was being evaluated. He is managing his condition through medication and currently is in remission.
"I can't begin to tell you how impressed I have been with how
he has handled this situation," coach Don Vaughan said. "The first few days after he was diagnosed were frightening times for all of us."
An ECAC all-rookie team selection in 2004, Campaner finished his collegiate career as one of the most talented defensemen in Colgate history. He scored a career-high 20 points as a junior and completed his career with 62 points in 137 games.
Although he's an undrafted free agent, Campaner plans to pursue a professional career in hockey after graduation. And he has a source of inspiration in Jordan Sigalet of the American Hockey League's Providence Bruins.
Sigalet, a former star at Bowling Green, also has multiple sclerosis. He once couldn't feel how hard he was gripping his stick
or squeezing his glove and couldn't even tie the laces on his shoes.
Colgate is planning a fundraiser in honor of Campaner to benefit Multiple Sclerosis Resources of Central New York, Inc.