As he deals with migraine disorder, Flyers' Nolan Patrick expects to play in 2019-20 season


Nolan Patrick wishes he had more answers.

Unfortunately for Patrick, the questions facing him have not been easy to answer.

Far from simple, the furthest from predictable.

The emotions and frustrations stemming from Patrick's migraine disorder were transparent on the 21-year-old's face Tuesday morning at the Wells Fargo Center.

He would love to know why the day-to-day recovery process has been "up and down, pretty wavy," as he put it. He wants to feel better, wants to play hockey.

He wishes he knew more, just like you. He is hopeful, though, as the Flyers enter December.

I expect to play this year.

I’m hoping to get back soon. I believe I’ll play this year and that’s something I’m trying to stick with.

I’m not going to get into too much detail, but there are obviously a lot of things that I’ve had to change. It’s obviously an annoying process, it’s sh---y, so hopefully get back soon.

There’s no timeframe. It’s tough to say.

Patrick missed training camp/preseason and has not played in 2019-20 after being diagnosed with the migraine disorder in September. He hasn't practiced with the Flyers since the end of October, when he was starting to do so in a non-contact jersey.

But Patrick has gotten back to doing on-ice work recently, including Tuesday morning with the Flyers' healthy scratches and goalie Carter Hart.

“He is progressing, he is doing more off ice, workouts, and he is skating a little bit more on his own, so hopefully it’s a positive sign," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "That’s all I can really tell you, I don’t know much more than that.

“He has been skating a lot more frequently on his own. Exactly where that brings us, I don’t know.”

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

On Sept. 26, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said, "The doctor feels that there's a regimen you can put him on and with medication, we can control the situation and we're hopeful."

Finding what works can be a process, as the Flyers and Patrick have noted.

Obviously there’s a certain amount of time you give each treatment plan before you go in a different direction. It’s been tough, it’s not fun watching. Hopefully I get back soon. ... I’m not just sitting around doing nothing. We’ve tried a bunch of stuff.

A migraine disorder causes more than just headaches. Patrick said he and the Flyers are "trying to put together more good days in a row than bad."

You’ve got to have a baseline of how much you can do. If I feel good doing that for a week, then I elevate a little more. There’s a plan in place, but it’s basically just off how I feel.

The strength coaches and training staff try to put together a program for me, but like I said before, at the end of the day, it’s how I’m feeling that day. If I’m not feeling great, we’ll just pump the brakes a little bit.

Not playing probably, sitting out, being away from the team — that’s probably the worst part of [the process].

As Patrick works his way back, searching for more answers, he has been appreciative of the support from teammates and others.

“My teammates have been amazing through it," Patrick said. "Everyone is super supportive. It’s a tough thing to go through, you’re kind of by yourself for a lot of it. My teammates are doing a great job making me feel a part of the team.

“I’ve talked to Dan Carcillo a bit about stuff like that. My teammates have been great, I’ve been spending a lot of time with Chris Stewart, so he’s helped me a lot through it. I can’t really thank my teammates enough.”


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