NHL Player and Cervical Dystonia Patient Rem Murray Launches 'Reaching Your Goals' Campaign to Raise Awareness of Cervical Dystonia

Effective Treatment with BOTOX(R) Enables His Triumphant Return to Center

Ice with the Edmonton Oilers, Murray Now Competing for the Coveted Stanley


Jun 12, 2006, 01:00 ET from Dystonia Medical Research Foundation

    CHICAGO, June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Illustrating the power of an early
 diagnosis and effective treatment for the debilitating neurological
 disorder called cervical dystonia, Rem Murray, a center for the National
 Hockey League's (NHL) Edmonton Oilers (2006 Western Division Champion and
 Stanley Cup finalist) and the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF)
 launched today the "Reaching Your Goals" campaign, designed to raise
 awareness for cervical dystonia. Murray, who was forced to retire from the
 National Hockey League and collect disability insurance in 2004 at the peak
 of his career, has made an inspiring return to professional hockey this
 year after being diagnosed with a debilitating neurological disorder called
 cervical dystonia and "reaching his own goal" of playing in the Stanley Cup
     Murray's story began at the end of 2003 when he started experiencing
 severe pain and stiffness in his neck which progressed to the point where
 his head was involuntarily forced to face the left, as if he was looking
 over his left shoulder. As a result, when Murray was on the ice during
 face-offs he could not direct his head toward the puck. His teammates,
 opponents, trainers and his family started to notice. In January 2004, the
 symptoms became so severe that they became unavoidable; he needed medical
 help. Murray was brought to the emergency room after a game in Toronto and
 by a sheer stroke of luck, one of the most renowned Canadian neurologists,
 Anthony Lang, M.D., happened to be on call that night. Many people with the
 disorder go for years without a diagnosis and effective treatment; however,
 Dr. Lang, a seasoned movement disorders specialist, instantly diagnosed Rem
 with cervical dystonia and immediately referred him to a neurologist for
 treatment in the U.S. where Rem was living and playing with the Nashville
 Predators at the time. Murray soon began treatment with injections of
 BOTOX(R) (Botulinum Toxin Type A) propelling him on the road to recovery.
     Cervical dystonia, which affects approximately 125,000 Americans and is
 the third most common movement disorder after Parkinson's disease and
 tremor, is characterized by involuntary spasms of the neck muscles that
 cause twisting, repetitive movements or abnormal postures of the head. The
 condition caused the muscles in Murray's neck to involuntarily contract so
 painfully that Murray could not perform daily tasks such as shaving,
 driving a car or reading to his children. Hockey was rendered impossible.
     "Cervical dystonia derailed my career and affected my family
 tremendously. At its worst, I couldn't even pour a bowl of cereal. I
 thought my career was over -- I filed for retirement and collected
 disability insurance," states Murray.
     Now 33, Murray is celebrating his recovery by heading the DMRF's
 "Reaching Your Goals" campaign, which is designed to generate awareness of
 cervical dystonia and the importance of seeing the right physician who can
 accurately diagnose the condition and provide effective treatment. The
 "Reaching Your Goals" campaign, on the heels of Dystonia Awareness Week
 (June 4-10), aims to bring attention to those who suffer from cervical
 dystonia as some people may go for more than 5 years and visit with 15
 physicians before receiving the right diagnosis and effective treatment.
     "I was extremely fortunate," Murray states, "I would hate to think that
 if the right physician was not on call that night in the ER, I would still
 be in pain and suffering with this condition. This is why I am passionate
 about raising awareness of cervical dystonia and the importance of seeing
 the right physician to receive a quick and accurate diagnosis and effective
     Along with a quick and accurate diagnosis, Murray credits his comeback
 to ongoing BOTOX(R) treatments as well as rigorous physical therapy regimen
 and sessions with an osteopath. BOTOX(R) was approved by the U.S. Food and
 Drug Administration (FDA) to treat cervical dystonia in 2000 and
 temporarily relaxes the overly contracted muscles in the neck.
     "Dystonia is a relatively unknown neurological condition with
 far-reaching impact on patients. Beyond the often dramatic physical
 effects, there are social and emotional ramifications that impact the
 livelihood and passions of patients suffering with this disorder," said Dr.
 John J. Wald, a Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology at the University
 of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and a neurologist at the Foote Memorial Hospital
 in Jackson, MI, as well as Rem's current treating physician. "There is no
 cure for cervical dystonia; however, there is help but you need to see a
 movement disorder specialist to receive an accurate diagnosis like Rem
     About Rem Murray
     Rem Murray has been in the National Hockey League (NHL) for more than
 eight years, playing on the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and the
 Nashville Predators. Rem was diagnosed with cervical dystonia in January
 2004 while on the Predators and subsequently retired. Following diagnosis
 and treatment with BOTOX(R) he worked his way back up the ranks in the
 American Hockey League on the Houston Aeros before signing onto the Oilers
 in March 2006. Rem has recently been nominated for the Bill Masterton
 Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the
 qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey (to be
 announced June 22 at the NHL Awards).
     About the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
     Founded in 1976 by Samuel and Frances Belzberg, the Dystonia Medical
 Research Foundation is dedicated to advancing research, promoting awareness
 and education, and supporting the needs and well being of all persons
 affected with dystonia and their families. With overall membership of
 nearly 32,000 people, the Foundation is comprised of individuals living
 with all forms of dystonia, their friends and families, and healthcare
 professionals and researchers. To find out more information about cervical
 dystonia, please visit the DMRF at http://www.dystonia-foundation.org.
     The "Reaching Your Goals" campaign is funded by Allergan, Inc.

SOURCE Dystonia Medical Research Foundation