By Darren Lum
Published Nov. 13 2018
A new documentary is shedding light on a rare medical condition that ended NHLer Cody Hodgson’s professional hockey career.
The “Hodgson” documentary reveals the former NHL player with Haliburton roots was diagnosed with malignant hypothermia that was caused by a genetic mutation of the RYR-1 gene. This mutation affects his muscular system and was triggered by prolonged exercise.
Hodgson has partnered with the RYR-1 Foundation to be part of the documentary named after him to bring attention to this rare disorder. There is no cure for the related diseases caused by the mutation of the RYR-1 gene but the goal of the foundation is to find one.
In the trailer for the documentary he said complications related the mutation were the cause for his retirement.
“My final year of playing I was having some severe symptoms. I was having trouble breathing. I was blacking out and my muscles were extremely tight and my whole body was shaking. I had a mutation of the RYR-1 gene” he said.
Hodgson was highly touted from the time he played with the Brampton Battalion in the OHL. He entered the NHL as the 10th overall draft pick by the Vancouver Canucks in 2008. He was the CHL Player of the Year and helped lead Canada at the 2009 World Juniors in scoring among a roster with the likes of John Tavares Jordan Eberle Alex Pietrangelo and P.K. Subban.
During the Canucks training camp before his first NHL game back injuries sidelined him. He never felt right and ended up seeking outside medical advice when the Canucks medical staff couldn’t find the cause of his issues. He went on to score 17 goals in 71 games as a rookie.
By 2012 the centreman was traded partway through the season for Zack Kassian and joined the Buffalo Sabres.
The next full season with the Sabres he scored 15 goals and tallied 19 assists in 48 games. The solid season was rewarded with a multi-year contract worth $25.5 million signed in 2013.
Although he scored 44 points (20 goals and 24 assists) in the 2013-2014 season the next season he finished with 13 points. His contract was bought out by the Sabres in the 2015 off-season. He then signed with the Nashville Predators for one season as a free agent. His playing days ended as a 26-year-old with the Predators’ AHL affiliate in Milwaukee during the 2015-2016 season.
The first screening for the Hodgson documentary is scheduled for December in Toronto.
In the trailer Hodgson is clear that no one needs to feel sorry for him.
“I don’t see myself as a victim at all. I see myself as someone who had a great career. It was a blessing to be able to play. Hopefully I can use this to benefit other people and myself as well” he said. “It’s a pretty rare disorder but we’re discovering more and more people with it. Hopefully with this documentary we can shine some light on it.”
See www.ryr1.org for more information on the work by the RYR-1 Foundation.