Surgery Gives Former Player, Coach New Freedom - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Surgery Gives Former Player, Coach New Freedom

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April 23, 2012, Nashville Predators director of hockey operations Brent Peterson watches NHL hockey practice in Nashville, Tenn. April 23, 2012, Nashville Predators director of hockey operations Brent Peterson watches NHL hockey practice in Nashville, Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Brent Peterson says surgery saved his life. It helped the former Nashville Predators top assistant coach escape his personal prison, too.

He is living with Parkinson's disease but no longer shuffles his feet moving from room to room or needs help getting dressed. His face, previously frozen in place as his medication wore off, now bears a smile.

Peterson says it's great to be free again, moving more like the rugged forward he was during his 11-year NHL career. He was the 12th overall pick by Detroit in 1978 and played 620 games before moving into coaching.

But he was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2003, and the progressive disease forced him off Nashville's bench last season.

With medication working less, he turned to a procedure called deep brain stimulation.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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