Statement from Maple Leafs Alumnus Börje Salming
by Staff Writer @MapleLeafs / MapleLeafs.com
Börje Salming, who played 16 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1973 to 1989, has issued the following statement on his health:
“I have received news that has shaken my family and me.
The signs that indicated that something was wrong in my body turned out to be the disease ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig´s disease. In an instant, everything changed. I do not know how the days ahead will be, but I understand that there will be challenges greater than anything I have ever faced. I also recognize that there is no cure but there are numerous worldwide trials going on and there will be a cure one day. In the meantime, there are treatments available to slow the progression and my family and I will remain positive.
Since I started playing ice hockey as a little kid in Kiruna, and throughout my career, I have given it my all. And I will continue to do so.
Right now, I rest assured that I have my loving family around me and the best possible medical care.
I understand that there are many of you that would like to reach out, however I kindly ask you to respect our privacy in these trying times. Please keep us in your prayers. When the time is right and I understand more about my condition and future journey, I will reach out. So, until such a time, we kindly refrain from all contact.
I hope you understand and respect our decision.”
Statement from Börje Salming’s doctor, Dr. Caroline Ingre:
“In recent decades, we have learned much more about the cause of ALS, and it has been shown that ALS is not a single disease. Instead, ALS is probably a collection of subgroups that all lead to the same symptom picture.”
“ALS is a devastating disease that not only affects the muscles but can also affect personality and cognitive functions. The people affected by this disease experience a progressive muscle weakness. In about 70 percent of diagnoses, the disease starts with symptoms from the spinal cord, which increasingly weakens the patient’s arms and legs, while in about 30 percent it starts around the mouth and throat, leading to slurred speech and difficulties swallowing. These patients also often have an associated emotional impact that manifests itself as uncontrollable laughter or crying. With most ALS patients, breathing is affected with symptoms most often appearing first at night, while other typical signs are morning headache, daytime sleepiness, and shortness of breath during the day or when lying flat on the back. Therefore, patients are also treated at a respiratory clinic and, when breathing becomes affected, offered support administered through a face mask (non-invasive ventilation).”
Dr. Ingre is chief physician within the Neurology Department at the Karolinska University Hospital and has managed their Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) clinic since 2014. She is also an adjunct senior lecturer at the Karolinska Institute. Dr. Ingre is the founder of the Karolinska ALS Clinical Research Center, which researches about the causes, risks and spreading patterns of ALS, with the goal of identifying the disease early on to provide more effective treatment.
Currently, there are more than 800 patients living with ALS in Sweden, while approximately another 250 Swedes receive an ALS diagnosis each year.
Dr. Ingre has also created a national quality register in Sweden – a tissue bank for biomarker studies, an image bank with X-rays and data collection on lifestyle, environmental exposure, and cognition. In 2022, the Karolinska ALS Clinical Research Center will run 10 different clinical trials in which ALS patients from all over Sweden are included. To learn more about efforts in Sweden, visit Karolinska University Hospital’s ALS Clinical Research Center.
The link between the Karolinska ALS Clinical Research Center and Canada is strong as the Canadian medical community has prioritized ALS research with several initiatives, research projects and clinics. To learn more about ALS in Canada, visit: ALS Canada.