Walter Gretzky diagnosed with Parkinson's

Walter Gretzky greets former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Johnny Bower at the Brantford Golf and County Club prior to the start of the Walter Gretzky CNIB Celebrity Golf Tournament in Brantford on Tuesday, July 12, 2011.


BRANTFORD, Ont. - Walter Gretzky, the world's most famous hockey dad, has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

The diagnosis comes about two years after a tremor in Gretzky's left hand prompted a visit to his doctor.

Gretzky, 73, who is famous for helping his son Wayne become a hockey legend, is taking the news in stride.

"It doesn't get in the way," he said in an interview at his home Wednesday. "I do everything with my right hand anyway.

He stretched out his arms to show that his right hand is rock solid, while his left trembles ever so slightly, especially in the thumb and ring finger.

It's his right hand that he works with, gestures with and - most important to his fans - uses to sign thousands of autographs each year.

"If it was my right hand, I'd be in trouble! I'd have to get a stamp!" he said, then chuckled at the idea.

He has been receiving electro-myopulse therapy in London, Ont. After several treatments, the therapy seems to be having a positive effect.

Parkinson's disease kills dopamine-generating cells in the brain, which causes shaking and, later, difficulty with walking as well as cognitive problems.

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