Former hockey coach fights Parkinson’s with surgery

Former hockey coach fights Parkinson's with surgery (Image 1)

Brent Peterson, former associate coach for the Nashville Predators was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease nine years ago.  On Tuesday, he continued Deep Brain Stimulation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a form of treatment.

The hospital has become Peterson's home away from home these last few weeks.

“Everything has gone great.  I just hope it keeps going that way,” Peterson told Nashville's News 2.

Tuesday, the former hockey coach and player, affectionately known as “Petey,” had the third of four procedures involved in DBS.  

Last week's surgery
was the most difficult and the most important.

“Last week was a little tougher than I thought. I stayed in most of the week and I didn't do much.  I had a few headaches, but when they start cutting into your head, you're going to have a few headaches,” said Peterson.

During step two, doctors implanted electrodes in his brain.  

During Tuesday's surgery, a device, similar to a heart pacemaker, was surgically implanted in Peterson's body.  It consists of a small box in his chest, connected to a thin wire that travels internally up the side of his neck and head to his brain.

The device will deliver electrical impulse to certain areas of Peterson's brain, blocking signals that cause Parkinson's symptoms.

The surgery lasted less than two hours and Peterson was allowed to go home the same day.

Doctors stress that DBS is not for every Parkinson's patient and it is not a cure.  However, the procedure should give Peterson better mobility and a better quality of life.

Peterson told Nashville's News 2 he wants to share his story to give others hope.

“We're just hoping this gets around to people that don't know about it, so we can help them so they know there's something out there,” said Peterson.

During stage four, the final procedure involved in DBS, Peterson will see his neurologist to turn on the device and fine tune it.

Nashville's News 2's Lori Mitchell will continue to follow Brent Peterson's procedures.

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