Former NHL prospect resolute in battle with ALS

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The first sign something was wrong probably came in the fall of 2013. Scott Matzka was putting up drywall in his garage when a finger on his right hand locked up.

More signs appeared early in 2014. If he opened the middle console in his car and reached for something, his right forearm cramped. If he clenched his right hand into a fist, he couldn't release it easily.

He was 35 then, married with two young children in Kalamazoo, Michigan, starting a new job as a consultant in the auto industry. He was two years removed from a career as a professional hockey player that included a training camp with the Nashville Predators, still an athletic man who ran, lifted weights, played racquetball.

He was used to his body obeying orders better than the average person, but he also was in tune with his body more than the average person. So he started researching on the internet, plugging in his symptoms.

What kept popping up was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, named for the New York Yankees great who died of the affliction in 1941, two weeks short of his 38th birthday.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to the loss of muscle control, paralysis and death. There is no cure.

Eventually, the diagnosis was confirmed...READ MORE